I have been rolling this idea around in my head for a few days now, and decided to finally act on it. I always enjoyed an anime that involved being thrown into a game-like world, and Overlord sits at the top for me. I then both watched and read DanMachi and thought, "Hey, what would happen if Momonga, who knows he's in a game-like world, were thrown into a real world with game-like properties?"
A few things to note. The first quarter or so of the story is actually almost exactly the same as the beginning of the anime (not the books). This was just to give the setting. Just about everything is the same with Nazarick and the characters and all that. After the Server Down, things start to deviate a bit and then it eventually works into the DanMachi universe. The entirety of the story will take place in the DanMachi universe, so none of the Overlord story will leak into this one. I am working with a few things to make it different from the DanMachi LNs. Some of the events might be similar, I might use them to launch into an extended version with my own twists to keep it fresh and make you feel like you're reading something new, rather than just having a new character in an already established story.
Hope you enjoy!
"Are you sure you won't stick around until the end, Herohero-san?" I asked with a hint of desperation in my voice. It would be nice to have someone else with whom to spend these last few moments.
"Sorry, Momonga-san," the melting ball of purple goo spoke apologetically. The Elder Ooze known as Herohero is an ally of mine whom I haven't seen for two years. "Work has really been running me ragged. All I do is work and sleep. I haven't had the energy to do much else."
The lump of viscous liquid ebbed and flowed as Herohero let loose a tired sigh. I felt a pang of pity echo through my mind. Herohero and I were close before he stopped logging into Yggdrasil. It's been very lonely without him, as well as the other thirty-nine. However, knowing that he had been going through quite a bit of trouble in real life makes me more worried than upset. Besides, prioritizing our careers and lives over the game was the point of our guild in the first place.
Ainz Ooal Gown. My… Our pride and joy. When I was saved from repeated PK'ing, Touch Me-san invited me to join the guild. There were two conditions for joining: you must be one of Yggdrasil's many nonhuman races, and playing the game cannot interfere with your real life. That being said, everyone in Ainz Ooal Gown had lives, careers, and relationships. It was what made us such a successful group. We all wanted to play, despite how busy we were, and understood when some couldn't partake in our adventures.
"I'll be logging out now," the slime muttered as a tendril of sludge swiped at the air, bringing up a visible menu of light.
"Ah," I murmured sadly. You really are going to leave me here alone. I guess it can't be helped. Steeling myself, I replied with a forced smile, "Take care of yourself, Herohero-san. It was a pleasure playing with you."
Herohero lightly chuckled. His tentacle hovered over the logout button and lingered. After several moments, the whole mass of slime turned toward me. An emote of a smiling face appeared above his head before he spoke, "Momonga-san," he paused to gather his thoughts, "no one ever told you this, but since I'm the last one, I think I ought to do it."
My head tilted before I could help it. What is this about?
"The reason we all played for as long as we did, spoke, became friendly, and enjoyed this game to its fullest is you," he took a breath. I remained in stunned silence. "It was your enthusiasm, your ambition, and your attitude that kept us together for this long. The Great Tomb of Nazarick is in such great shape, despite most of the other guild members quitting. You've kept everything up impeccably. We couldn't have asked for more from our Guild Master."
I turned into a stuttering idiot. Wasn't what Herohero-san just said really embarrassing? What do you mean I was the reason everyone kept playing? Was it really that fun because of me? I panicked, waving my bony hands in front of me, trying to utter any semblance of a word.
Herohero giggled to himself before raising his tentacle above his head. "Let's grab a drink sometime. My treat!"
There was a soft beep, a whoosh of pixels, and Herohero was gone from his red velvet chair.
And I was left alone.
If I am the reason everyone kept playing, why aren't they here now?
I leaned back in my chair with my skeletal hands flat on the white, oaken table. My emotions fluctuated between anger, nostalgia, and sadness. Unsure of what to feel, I sighed.
I walked through the halls of The Great Tomb of Nazarick. There was only thirty minutes left before the servers of Yggdrasil were shut down for good. I decided to take a tour of our guild's base of operations, the spoils of our adventures. The Great Tomb of Nazarick was considered an unconquerable dungeon back in the day. Only players with a level of eighty and above were capable of taking this dungeon on, but even with a raid of hundreds of players, Nazarick still stood strong. Then came Ainz Ooal Gown.
With just forty-one members, Ainz Ooal Gown conquered The Great Tomb of Nazarick on their first try. Yggdrasil's developers were so impressed, they bestowed upon us our very own World-Class Item, "The Throne of Kings." We then took it upon ourselves to remodel Nazarick in our own image. We turned this unruly dungeon into the headquarters for Ainz Ooal Gown. The massive, ten story dungeon was molded by each of us personally, including the NPC's that wander its corridors.
Speaking of NPC's… I thought as I came upon a group of creatures lined up against the polished marble walls. The Pleiades Battle Maids and Sebas Tian… These constructs were meant to be the personal servants and head butler of the Guild Master, as well as my personal guard. They were each designed and created by several members of Ainz Ooal Gown.
"So sad," I mumble to myself. "So much thought and work had gone into them. Now they will just disappear along with this place," my jaw clenches when I realize that all of this effort will become a simple memory.
The red lights that act as my eyes flare dangerously as an idea comes to the forefront of my mind, "Maybe we can have a little fun. I'm sure the other guild members won't mind."
In typical maid attire, Yuri Alpha, Lupusregina Beta, Narberal Gamma, CZ2128 Delta, Solution Epsilon, and Entoma Vasilissa Zeta made up the body of the Pleiades Battle Maids. Their leader, Sebas Tian, was created by my friend, Touch Me-san. He wore a finely pressed, black butler's outfit, giving him a dignified air that you wouldn't expect from an NPC. They were our last line of defense if The Great Tomb of Nazarick was ever attacked, though no players have ever made it past the eighth floor. Nazarick was a nearly impenetrable fortress. We went to great lengths to ensure its protection, including the creation of these powerful NPC's.
I called out the command to the NPC's. Their backs suddenly straightened as the order was registered by their recognition software. They stood at attention, prepared to follow me wherever I went. I am filled with a wave of satisfaction at how easily they heeded my decree. If only the real world was this simple.
I made my way to the lowest level of Nazarick, the Throne Room, with the Pleiades in tow. What better place is there to spend the last moments in Yggdrasil than the place where my friends and I planned our adventures? The massive, ornate doors swung open with a wave of my hand, revealing a huge room. Dark pillars lined the room on either side. Running down the center was a wide, red carpet with golden trim covering thick, gray slabs of refined stone. Above the carpet hung sterling, crystal chandeliers that illuminated the great hall.
My eyes swept over the sheets of maroon and gold, canvas-like cloth flags hanging on either side. There were forty-two in all, each imprinted with a symbol that represented one of the forty-one members of Ainz Ooal Gown. The last flag proudly portrayed the symbol associated with our guild. Every time I walk in here, it sends chills down my spine. This room holds so many memories for me, memories I will always treasure.
I made it halfway to the throne before I noticed another NPC. Her long, black hair contrasts with her provocatively cut, white dress. Her skin was an alabaster white that nearly blended in perfectly with her dress. Her flawlessly proportioned face was outlined by two thick, forward-curling horns. Two raven-feathered wings stretched from either side of the small of her back; the feathers would periodically flare out due to an animation that was included in her programming. She was truly the embodiment of beauty, the Overseer of all of Nazarick's NPC's, Albedo.
I approached the throne and turned to the Pleiades behind me.
At my command, the NPC's filed into a line at the side of the room and awaited orders. I ascended the steps onto the platform, Albedo's eyes following my every move. I set myself down in the seat and peered over the entire room. I rarely sat on this throne, even though I was the official Guild Master. I thought it was a bit too pretentious of me, since we all made this guild the legend that it was. Everyone's hands went into creating this headquarters, so laying claim to it just seemed selfish to me.
A golden glimmer catches my eye, drawing my gaze to my left. Hovering peacefully beside the throne is the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown. The twisted braids of gold traveled upward and broadened into seven prongs, each with the design of a dragon's head. Each head held a small, colored jewel that radiated immense power. These jewels were God Artifacts that the guild collected over our many adventures. The staff is one of our proudest creations, since the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown and The Great Tomb of Nazarick both tell the history of our guild.
All of this was truly a testament to Ainz Ooal Gown's fame as an unmatched, top tier guild.
My eyes linger on the golden staff long enough to pique my interest. I guess a little won't hurt. The other members shouldn't get mad, since I'm the only one who can wield this thing. Sticking my hand out, I beckon the staff with a mental command. Like opposing magnets, the staff floats into my grasp and glows menacingly with power. This staff was our Guild Weapon, the single most powerful weapon we could possibly create. It signified our guild, and now it will pass on into nothing like everything else.
"This staff holds a lot of power," I mumbled as I am reminded of its capabilities.
Although it has powerful God Artifacts embedded within it and can cast powerful magic, it also had the power to open the Command Console. I have access to just about everything in Nazarick, including the settings for the security systems, but messing with those at the last minute would be a waste of time. I point the staff in front of me, opening a light window. Several lines of code that I can just barely make out appeared.
"What should I look up?" I posed my question to no one in particular. Black feathers filled my vision as Albedo's wings flare out yet again. Her golden eyes stared down blankly, a small smile on her face, awaiting orders like the good little NPC she was. I hummed curiously.
[NPC LIST ALBEDO CHARACTER STATUS]
After inputting the command, a window opened over the Command Console containing Albedo's list of stats. With a smirk, I tapped the button labeled, "Character Bio." My eyes were suddenly flooded by a wall of text.
"Uwah…" I uttered uncharacteristically. "Leave it to Tabula-san to come up with all of this."
Albedo's backstory was so in-depth that it rivaled most novellas in length. Just seeing it almost made my head spin.
TLDR… I apologized to Tabula Smaragdina in my head as I scrolled all the way to the bottom. Her personality was explained in a single paragraph, describing loyalty, intelligence, and innocence. At the very bottom of the page, however, there was a single sentence that derailed the entire bio.
"She is a total nymphomaniac."
"Really, Tabula-san?" I asked aloud. I know you have a thing for Gap Moe, but this is too much. Tabula Smaragdina-san really enjoyed how different someone can be on the inside when compared with their outward appearance.
I let out another sigh, this time one of exasperation, "I know how much you like this kind of thing, but this just won't do."
With a wave of my hand, the last line of Albedo's character bio disappears. The cursor blinks before me, awaiting for any kind of input. I looked up at Albedo, her golden eyes still glistening. She merely waited for any utterance of the programmed verbal commands. Albedo's resting face was set to be alluring, welcoming, but also somewhat seductive; she was supposed to be a succubus after all. If I hadn't known she was an NPC, I'd be blushing like mad if a woman this beautiful looked at me like she was right now. Yeah right, like a woman like that would ever love me…
Like a lightbulb, an idea causes my hands to shudder. I really shouldn't… If Tabula-san found out, he'd kill me.
But no one will find out. The servers are shutting down in a few minutes anyway. If anything, it will become a funny joke if we ever met again in another game or real life. Yeah, Tabula-san wouldn't mind.
With that last justification, I nodded to myself before typing a new line in Albedo's Character Bio.
"She is also madly in love with Momonga."
I can't help the blushing emote appearing over my head. Damn, that really is embarrassing. Well, what's done is done.
With a chuckle, I waved the staff and closed the Command Console window. I sat back in The Throne of Kings, gazing at everything around me.
"I really had a lot of fun with everyone here," I smiled.
None of the time was wasted, none of it in vain. I can safely say that Ainz Ooal Gown had an impact on all forty-one players within it. As the Guild Master, I must say it was a job well done. It's a shame Yggdrasil is shutting down, but it can't be helped. The fanbase had dwindled significantly that last five years or so. It was too much for them to keep it going for so few players. To my discontent, I could not find any flaw in their reasoning for moving on from my favorite game.
I felt a slight twinge behind my eyes, a sign with which I have become very familiar; I have been diving for too long. I glanced up at the clock in the corner of my HUD to check the time.
"A little over a minute left," I muttered dejectedly. "My last moments as Guild Master. This will be my last command."
The NPC's responded to my call instantly. Every member of the Pleiades, Sebas Tian, as well as Albedo dropped to one knee, placing their right arms over their chests to cover their hearts. Their heads bowed in my direction to show absolute reverence. Their undying loyalty was not just programmed into their individual code, but also into their Character Bios. Each NPC in Nazarick is loyal to guild through and through. Grateful for their service, I lift my head to the ceiling as the seconds tick away.
The date's about the change. I have to get up really early tomorrow too… I'll just let them forcefully log me out.
There are just a few seconds left now.
"Thanks for the good times, Yggdrasil. It's been fun," I closed my eyes and waited for the Admins to shut it all down.
The time for the Server Down came.
And it went.
"Eh?" I blurted as I saw the seconds continue to tick. The date had already changed. The servers were supposed to shut down by now. That's strange…
Did they push back the shut down? I thought as the clock continued to roll. I didn't hear any news about a delay. Things like that usually appear in the newsfeed in game anyway.
With confusion, I pointed to the air in front of me to bring up the chat window. I might as well ask a GM. Hopefully they haven't logged out already.
I am met with empty air.
My mouth gaped open as I jerked back in shock. The window won't appear. I attempted opening the personalized menu with another gesture. That won't come up either? I tried using Message to call a GM with whom I had become familiar. He would interact with Ainz Ooal Gown from time to time. He also gave us The Throne of Kings back in the day.
I sputtered as I am met with silence. The GM Call isn't working either.
"What is going on?"
My head turned sharply in the direction of the NPC's. They were all staring at me with expressions of concern. The nearest NPC's face was contorted, almost pained as she looked at me. Albedo was clearly panicking because of my reaction.
"Is something wrong?" her clear voice filled my ears, causing me to break out into a cold sweat.
"Momonga-sama?!" she inquired louder now, visibly in distress. She approached me quickly, hanging from my arm, her gaze imploring me to tell her what was wrong.
Ah… that's right… NPC's can't talk.
And skeletons can't sweat.
Did I make the right decisions so far? I asked myself as I watched Aura and Mare, the twin Dark Elf children who guard the Sixth Floor, tangle with a demon of fire I summoned with the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown. Aura's whip twirled and snapped around her like a champion lion tamer, using it both to attack and defend. Mare remained close behind, being a Magic Caster and all. Mare would protect his sister from incoming flames and then buff her attacks when she switched to the offensive.
Aura Bella Fiora and Mare Bello Fiore were created by Bukubukuchagama-san, the sister of my friend Peroroncino-san. I always thought that she tried to model her creations after the two of them, but in all honesty, Peroroncino told me that he would never dress that way. By, "that way," I meant the fact that Mare, the young elven boy, was in fact wearing a skirt. It turned out that Bukubukuchagama-san simply liked Traps. By the looks of Aura, Bukubukuchagama also seemed to like Reverse Traps as well. With a stylish, white pant suit and a red leather vest, you honestly could not tell Aura was female, save for the modest swell at her bust line.
That's not exactly what the problem is now, is it? I reset my derailed train of thought. The NPC's are alive! The game is real! WHAT THE F—
"Momonga-sama," a gruff, manly voice resounded in my head after a shrill beeping noise, interrupting my flustered thoughts. It seemed that the Message spell still worked after all, but only in limited form.
"Ah, Sebas," I answered calmly as my emotions suddenly disappeared. "What have you to report?"
"I have completed my surveillance of the surrounding area," he replied dutifully. "If you wish, I will announce the results to you."
"Hold off on that for now," I nodded, though I only now realize that he can't see me. "I have called for the Floor Guardians to assemble in the Colosseum on the Sixth Floor. You may explain what you have found then. Return to Nazarick."
"Understood. As the Supreme Being commands," Sebas spoke with veneration, and I am sure that he is bowing on the other end.
The Message cut out with a similar beep, leaving me to my thoughts. So much is happening, it's difficult to keep track.
When the initial panic set in, I was about to run out of the tomb screaming, but I felt my emotions quickly fall away, like they were adjusted somehow. After that moment, I was able to think calmly about the situation. From what I have gathered thus far, I have come up with a summary of the current goings-on.
The servers of Yggdrasil did not shut down at midnight. The NPC's, who were originally mute, had gained the ability to speak and move without prompting. They can also perceive and follow orders that were not previously programmed into their code. The NPC's are presenting the personalities that have been explained in their Character Bios. The NPC's have become real people who see me as one of their creators, a "Supreme Being," and the leader of The Great Tomb of Nazarick.
There is no menu. There is no GM Call. My HUD is gone. You can perform… ahem… 18+ actions.
Just about everything that made Yggdrasil a game is gone.
As far as I'm concerned, The Great Tomb of Nazarick is no longer in Yggdrasil.
The spells from Yggdrasil exist and operate normally, but I can't tell how much HP and MP I have; I can feel it though. I used Aura and Mare to test a bit. Just knowing that the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown still had its insane magic ability was comforting. I also used the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown to teleport to this floor, so there's that as well. Despite the changes, everything seemed to be functioning normally.
Am I missing something?
I CAN'T LOG OUT!
"Momonga-sama?" I am snapped out of my reverie by the short elven twins standing before me. Aura's head was tilted cutely to the side and Mare was clutching his staff tightly to his chest, shrinking away from me. The boy shuddered when my red eyes flared slightly, aiming directly at him.
"I see you made swift work of a beast of that level, Aura, Mare," I announced proudly, as if my own child had succeeded in something difficult.
"It was easy!" Aura laughed while scratching the back of her head shyly.
"Nee-chan…" Mare attempted to rebuke his sister, but trailed off at the end while glancing up at me for any sign of annoyance.
"I see," I nodded gladly. Something else occurs to me that still needs testing. I peer down at the Dark Elves, "You two must be thirsty. Would you care for a drink?"
Both dark elves' eyes widened at the question before they glanced at each other in shock. I didn't bother giving them a chance to answer. I thought deeply, willing the event into existence. Trusting the feeling to which I had grown accustomed to over the years, I reached forward. I watched as my hand disappeared into empty space, as if a tear in space-time opened up. I then grasped the items within and pulled. Two glasses came free from the space.
I handed them each a glass and reached into the space again, this time pulling out a pitcher filled to the brim with cold water. I then poured them each a glass. They both shared another glance before chugging down the proffered drink from their Supreme Being.
So my Inventory Space still works too. I should see what else I can get out of there. Hopefully my rare items still work. I ruminated on the new information while stowing away the pitcher.
When they finished, I grabbed the glasses and put them away. Then, they both bowed low, "Thank you very much for the drink, Momonga-sama. We are unworthy of your kindness," Aura announced dutifully. Despite already bowing, Mare nodded, nearly throwing himself off balance.
"Of course you're unworthy," a disembodied voice echoed over the open space of the Colosseum. We all turned to face the direction of the voice, and were met by a flash of light radiating from a magic circle. Out of the circle, a young girl in a mauve, Victorian-style dress carrying a parasol strolled into our midst with an air of importance.
Well, calling her a young girl would be inaccurate. She is Shalltear Bloodfallen, the Floor Guardian for the First, Second, and Third Floors. She is a True Vampire created by Peroroncino-san, and her backstory included that she is at least one thousand years-old. Peroroncino had making Shalltear the strongest of the Floor Guardians in mind when he created her, and I was present for many steps in the process, but…
Was her chest always that big?
Shalltear twirled her parasol as she gave a sidelong gaze over at the Dark Elf twins. Placing a delicate, pale hand over her fanged mouth, she continued, "Someone as boorish and unrefined as you could never even dream of being worthy of Momonga-sama's kindness."
Aura's face twisted into a snarl, "What was that, goth loli?!"
"Don't call me that in front of Momonga-sama, you damned beast girl!" Shalltear tossed her parasol and trudged angrily up to Aura.
The two girls butt heads, literally. Their foreheads are touching and I could see sparks flying between their eyes. They also seemed to be growling like feral dogs contesting over a piece of scrap meat. Mare stood off to the side, waving his hands frantically shouting, "Nee-chan! Shalltear-sama! Momonga-sama is watching!"
He danced around them in a worried panic, trying to stop their bickering. I merely watched over them, smiling all the while. I am glad those emotes no longer existed, since it would have betrayed my mood. It's exactly like it was back then. Bukubukuchagama-san, Peroroncino-san, it's like watching the shouting matches you two used to have in the Guild Hall.
Bukubukuchagama and Peroroncino were siblings. They were always fighting with each other, though most of it was probably out of frustration. Bukubukuchagama was a famous voice actress who had a lot of different jobs. Peroroncino enjoyed eroge, some to which his own older sister offered her services. Needless to say, he was pretty miffed when a company he admired would announce that his sister would be playing a character or two in their games.
Things haven't changed much at all. Even though I miss them, it seems they left pieces of themselves behind for me to enjoy. Just as their creators would go off on one another, the creations were squabbling like children.
Another wave of nostalgia swept over me, bringing forth a chuckle. The din of voices suddenly quiets down. The three of them are now staring at me with dumbfounded expressions, like I had done something entirely unexpected.
I wonder how they see me. We've never spoken or interacted, but they carry on as if this sort of thing is normal. They all have expectations of me, but I am unsure of how to deal with them. Maybe it has something to do with their backstories? I made a note to check later if I can still access Character Bios.
"Getting along as usual, I see," I played off my chuckle as a clearing of the throat. "It is good to see you, Shalltear."
"Ah," Shalltear let out what sounded like a moan. Her face flushed red, causing her to bring her hands to her normally pale, white cheeks. "Momonga-sama, your words are too kind. Let me take in your presence and bask in your beauty."
I was frozen in place as Shalltear hurried over to me. With a small hop, she wrapped her arms around my neck and dangled precariously. Looking down at her blushing face, small fangs peeked from between her rosy, red lips. The thick smell of perfume wafted up from her, but there was still an undertone of something much fiercer. That smell… Is that blood? As expected of a Vampire.
"Shalltear," a loud voice boomed from the massive archway. The visage of Albedo appeared from within, "Please compose yourself in the presence of Momonga-sama. Something dirty might rub off on our Master."
The Vampire around my neck froze. "Dirty?" a low grumble escaped her lips as she slid down my frame onto solid ground once again. "Say that again, you slutty succubus."
Even from this distance, I saw Albedo grimace. She was about to blurt out something offensive, I'm sure, but she was snapped out of it when a hand clasped her bare shoulder.
"It is unwise to utter such words in front of the Supreme Being. He might find you off putting," a well-dressed man appeared behind her. He wore a red, striped suit and a red tie over a white shirt. His glasses that sat atop his long, pointed ears were small and round, but they still managed to cover his eyes completely. His stiff, spiked hair rose several centimeters above his head. Behind his back, a huge, segmented silver tail swung to and fro with each step. The creation of Ulbert Alain Odle, Demiurge.
The floor shook heavily as another figure, nearly three meters tall, emerged from the shadows. The blue armored, insect-like creature took his sweet time covering the distance, but each step was planned; every move he made was battle-ready. Cold air radiated from his outer shell with each breath he took. He had four thick arms and carried a giant halberd. In terms of physical strength, he could match some Yggdrasil players. The creation of Warrior Takemikazuchi, Cocytus.
"Such babble. Is disrespectful," his broken speech and gravelly voice barely registered as understandable. I highly doubted there was anything similar to vocal cords in that monster's throat.
With this, all of the Guardians for whom I have called have arrived. Save for Victim and Gargantua, everyone has gathered. All that is left is…
"Momonga-sama, I have returned," Sebas suddenly appeared off to the side, startling me. He was already bowed, giving me a full view of his styled, silver hair.
Covering my mouth with my hand and coughing, I turn to my small gathering.
"Honored Floor Guardians, you may be wondering why I have called you here," I announced loudly, trying to project my voice farther than I really should. Acting this way shows power, right? Whatever, I'll do it anyway. "Not an hour ago, The Great Tomb of Nazarick underwent an unknown shift. I had a dangerous premonition."
"Momonga-sama, if I may," Shalltear stepped forward tentatively, the opposite of how brazen she was earlier. I nodded and allowed her to continue, "Is that why you sent the Pleaides to the upper floors?"
"Correct, Shalltear," I affirmed her question. "I needed to ensure that nothing would happen while you were here, rather than on your respective floors. However, I also had another reason for doing so. I ordered Sebas to survey the exterior and report his findings. If anything were to happen, he could call the Pleiades for assistance." I don't know what is going on. Can't be too cautious after all.
"Sebas," I turned expectantly to the butler, "what have you found?"
Taking my cue, Sebas straightened, placing his hands behind his back. With the dignity that had been programmed into him, he spoke, "On Momonga-sama's orders, I exited The Great Tomb of Nazarick. I was shocked to behold an alien landscape, one with which I am unfamiliar."
"Unfamiliar?" In Yggdrasil, The Great Tomb of Nazarick resided in a wide swamp. Are we not in a swamp? In the game, Nazarick was surround by swampland with a dark sky and twisted landscape. It was one of the most dangerous areas in the game, crawling with high-level undead and spotted with expanses of quicksand and constricting vines. If Nazarick were to be attacked, the swamp would be considered the first line of defense.
"We are now surrounded on all sides by several different formations. I will list them by direction now," Sebas closed his eyes, as if recalling the memories. "In the North, the direction Nazarick is facing, there is a small field of grass that eventually tapers off into a dense forest. To the West, a cliff face rising up to a series of plateaus that act as platforms jutting from a single mountain."
"Er…" I stuttered. That's nothing like a swamp! What is going on here?!
Luckily, he didn't seem to notice my little personal outburst, or at least ignored it, so he continued, "To the East, there is another cliff face, only…"
Sebas paused, seemingly unsure of how to go on explaining. Instead, he decided to describe something else, "The twilight sky under which Nazarick sat is no longer there. In fact, there is no sky at all. The 'ceiling' is lined with thick formations of crystals that emit light. The wall rises all the way to meet the crystal. To the South, there is a similar stone wall. From what I can tell, The Great Tomb of Nazarick has been transported to an underground oasis."
My mind reeled as the information hit me. Listening to Sebas' description, I easily came to the conclusion that we were probably no longer in Yggdrasil at all. I have been to every square inch of that game, and nothing from the landscape even comes close to similar. So not only am I trapped in a game, but I'm in an unknown world as well?
If this is some unexpected update to Yggdrasil, the developers have outdone themselves.
My emotions nearly burst outward, but they suddenly dissipate. Serenity washed over me as I attempted to move the conversation along, "Fascinating. Is there anything else of note, Sebas?"
"Yes, Momonga-sama," Sebas nodded in confirmation. "Since the area is enclosed underground, I was able to survey the entirety of the space we inhabit. Within the forest, there are a number of foreign creatures, some of which seem to be very hostile. They roam the area in packs, but I do not believe they pose us a threat. Beyond the wooded area, there is a lake and an incredibly large tree. Facing the lake in the east, there is a small town situated on a cliff. The town seems to be inhabited by several different anthropomorphic races, all of which are armed."
All of them? Usually with a town or village, there were at least some common folk. They would need farmers, blacksmiths, as well as others capable of several trades. A town in a Dive MMORPG would normally have a significant number of NPC's. If every inhabitant was armed and had the ability to fight, and I still think of this as a game, then that area might be a stop for players to rest and stock up on items. Does that mean there are other players there?
"I do not believe that these inhabitants are on par with you, or any other of the Supreme Beings, Momonga-sama. They seem like simple warriors or mercenaries," Sebas answered my question before I could ask it. Sebas glanced at me, to which I responded with a nod. "Finally, to the Southeast, the wall opens up to a long staircase leading to an upper level. Alternately in the Northeast, there is a similar opening in the wall, but the staircase leads down, further underground. That is all."
Sebas breathed out. He stood in silence, finished with his findings. The information was very revealing. As Sebas mentioned, Nazarick appeared to have really been transported underground, but there was even more that I could glean. The structure of the place led me to the theory that there might be more to our surroundings than meets the eye.
There is an entrance leading upward, an exit leading downward, a town filled with armed people and shops. This place, this floor, seems to be a rest stop in a dungeon; a dungeon where I have never been.
The Guardians are confused. They're not worried, or concerned. It's more like they have learned something interesting and are taking it in stride. Gravity could have inverted, and these former NPC's would shrug and carry on. I, on the other hand...
"How exciting," I muttered, my bones clacked with anticipation. It's been so long since the last Yggdrasil update. I haven't experienced a new area since the remaining members of Ainz Ooal Gown conquered the new dungeon content several years ago. Now that there are new areas to explore, knowing that I can spread the great name of Ainz Ooal Gown to the corners of a brand new world… "Exciting, indeed."
That was the first time the Guardians were taken aback. Waves of dark energy emanated from my body, filling the entire Colosseum with concentrated malice. Their anxious gazes were met with a flare of glowing red from my eager eyes.
"Ah… So tired," I groaned as I sank into the freshly laundered sheets on my luxurious bed. "But… I don't feel sleepy."
The past twenty-four hours have been hectic. There was still so much I didn't know. I was still trying to wrap my head around what has happened, but there was too much to do in preparation for the unknown. Much of my time was spent delegating duties as well as listening to reports, but despite a rather lax attitude on my part, it was still mentally exhausting.
After Sebas finished his report, I spent the next few moments speaking with the Guardians. Upon further questioning, Sebas mentioned that Nazarick's Mausoleum lay above ground. This meant that anyone who passed by will be able to see it. Judging from Sebas' account, this area is well known. Something as conspicuous as a tomb appearing out of thin air in an underground dungeon will definitely draw a lot of attention. With the mountain to the west, there were too many vantage points from which The Great Tomb of Nazarick could be spotted.
That was when I asked Mare if there was any way to hide the Mausoleum; being a Magic Caster with extensive knowledge of Illusion magic, he was certainly the one to consult. It was a rather difficult predicament to overcome. Since I came to the conclusion that the floor has been thoroughly explored, someone would notice if there was suddenly a new set of hills in the dungeon.
We eventually decided to extend the forest to conceal us. Using the trees to cover us from above and having the vines wrap around the columns to hide us from ground view seemed to be the only viable course of action. That way, it will just seem like natural plant growth took part of the floor. It would be troublesome if someone came by to harvest lumber, so a few Bounded Fields will need to be placed around the structure to deter people from coming by.
With these small changes, it should alleviate the dangers of being discovered prematurely before we know enough about this new world.
"At least we can get through the immediate future without having to deal with the populace sending hordes of warriors our way," I mumbled to myself as I lay sprawled on the bed.
That being said, the most important task to come next was gathering information. While Mare handled the concealment of Nazarick, I sent Aura with a few of the Eight-Edge Assassins, a human-like spider creature in traditional ninja clothing, to check out the nearby town. I asked… I ordered them to learn as much as they can about the area without interfering in the daily lives of the people.
I hope they listen to me, I thought. I was unsure from the start whether or not they would heed my orders. Having these powerful creatures under my wing without having any control over them would have made things exceedingly difficult. So, by the end of our strategy session, I had asked each of the Guardians what they thought of me.
The results were quite shocking.
"They have some unrealistic expectations of me," I ruminated on what I heard. If skeletons could sweat, I would be drenched.
Wise, kind, merciful, beautiful, strong… It all sounds like some dream. I am none of those things. I sighed.
Even Albedo said I was the highest ranking of all Supreme Beings, the term they used to describe all the guild members of Ainz Ooal Gown. I assumed they didn't care that I was only made the Guild Master because Touch Me-san recommended it. It wasn't because I was the best, or anything.
Albedo also said that I was the man she loved. Outwardly, I acted quite stoic if I don't say so myself, but inwardly, I was so flustered, I nearly fell over.
"So embarrassing…" I rolled back and forth across the bed while holding my face. I can't blush anymore, but those emotions were there.
Then a sudden wave of tranquility washed over me, and the emotion was gone.
It wasn't just my appearance that changed; I seemed to have become quite inhuman since the Server Down. I have become much like an undead, something that has ceased being human. My emotions have been curbed by some unknown force. I can still feel them in bursts, but once they rise beyond a certain point, this force quiets them. It's like I actually became an undead.
I stood from my wide, canopied bed and walked over to the massive, silvered mirror that covered nearly the entire wall. The frame was of exquisite gold encrusted with flawless gems of many denominations.
I peered at my reflection in the mirror. Normally, when playing Yggdrasil, no matter how many times I saw myself in character, I always felt as if I was a human controlling the body of this Elder Lich. Ever since the game ended, I have felt completely detached from my real body. I looked down at my bony hands and arms peeking from underneath my black and purple robes. My gaze rose to see my face, a skull with two red, blazing eyes set in the sockets. My fleshless ribs jutted out from my open shirt, a large, glowing red orb floated behind them, swelling with power and life.
I still had a sense of touch, but I can't taste or breathe… This is weird…
I pinched the bridge of my nose in exasperation, "This is going to be hard to absorb."
"Momonga-sama," a woman calls out from behind me. I turned to see her shutting the door behind her. Narberal Gamma, the name appeared in my mind when I took in the visage of the dark-haired maid. Nishikienrai-san designed her to be a "yamato nadeshiko." He was always into traditional Japanese tropes, especially ninjas. I suppose dressing in typical ninja outfits and creating an NPC as an ideal Japanese woman was an extension of his interests.
Now that I think about it, Nishikienrai's tastes were tame compared to many of the others.
Narberal Gamma was one of the few NPCs with a normal appearance. Despite how human she looked, she was still considered inhuman. Being a Doppelganger, she has the innate ability to change form to suit her needs. However, in order to keep her image as a yamato nadeshiko, Nishikienrai placed most of her stat points into strength and magic, rather than her racial abilities. Now, her natural skill is limited to human shapes and forms. So, she must remain in human form, but her power is off the charts; a fair trade-off if I don't say so myself.
"What have you to report?" I turned back to the mirror, glancing at her visage periodically.
"The beasts that Aura-sama sent to the upper and lower floors have returned," she announced, her eyes remaining closed and her hands together as she waited on standby. "On the Supreme Being's orders, the beasts remained unseen for the duration of their mission."
I nodded in understanding. I'm glad that Aura is capable of taking enough control of the creatures under her employ. Without that, I would have had to wait until she returned before I could survey the floors of the dungeon.
In hindsight, I probably should have just waited so I could have a bit of rest and gather myself, but there's no use complaining now.
The Doppelganger took my silence as consent to continue and voiced her report, "The beasts that headed further down spoke of a great root system. The walls appear to be made of gnarled wood and the floors are lined with bioluminescent moss. I suspect that the floors below are affected by the tree at the center of this floor."
So the floors below this one are the root system of the huge tree in this oasis? Interesting… I'm still not sure how far down this dungeon goes, but if it goes even deeper, then there might be more interesting biomes urging to be explored. My adventurer's spirit has been piqued.
"And above?" I asked with a level voice. With my emotions in check, it makes it easier for me to hide my giddiness.
"The floor directly above appears to be what the Supreme Beings would call a 'Boss Room,'" her eyes crack open to take in the reflection of my face in the mirror.
I am so glad I no longer have skin.
Surely, if I still had a human face, my expression would have betrayed the extent of my glee. However, despite that, I could see the red glow of my eyes brighten, flaring robustly. Narberal Gamma's eyes widened even more, obviously catching on to the change in my demeanor.
And what a change it was.
A new enemy? A creature I don't know? And better yet, a BOSS? This is… This is…!
"A boss? How quaint," was all I could bring myself to say. My excitement could hardly be contained, but what came out was an indifferent huff. This new attitude could take some getting used to.
Narberal's lips quirked slightly, as if amused by my supposed jab, but the smile was gone in the next instant. Her steely eyes remained resolute as she went on to complete her report, "The creature appears to be about seven meters tall and has immense strength. Since the beasts were told not to engage in any fighting, they returned once their reconnaissance was complete."
"I see," the lights of my eyes were pulsing with unbridled enthusiasm, but I remained cool and calm.
There was so much that needed doing. I didn't have nearly enough knowledge about this world, this dungeon, or even the floor to which we were transported. I still had teams out there gathering intelligence, important information that I think is paramount to the furtherance of Nazarick. I have to take stock of both items and NPCs, ensure that all of Nazarick's defensive systems were working, read through and memorize Character Bios, even see how my creation is faring down in the treasury.
I have so much to do… but…
"Narberal Gamma," I state her full name to get her undivided attention.
She instantly responds to the commanding tone of my voice, arms going rigid at her sides and back straightening. I slowly turned to her and approached. The size different between us became very apparent as her neck had to crane in order to achieve constant eye contact with me. My eyes burned furiously in their sockets, the red light so bright that it illuminated the battle maid's face. I see her jaw tighten when I stop just a few inches from her.
Unable to prevent the darkness from creeping into my words, my teeth parted with an eager hiss, "Care to take a stroll?"
It took a whole hour to make it to the opening in the wall to the Boss Room. It's not that the doorway was far from Nazarick, but we spent most of our time dodging the native denizens of this world in order to go unnoticed. They didn't appear to be threatening or particularly powerful, but until I know more, being unknown was preferable. Judging by the types of monsters on this floor and the level of equipment that the citizens seemed to carry, we must not be very far down in this dungeon. People carrying iron and steel with a severe lack of magically imbued weapons gives me a few clues to work with.
The giant crystals in the ceiling were currently glowing a deep, dark blue, the color of the night sky. The crystal in the center was the largest of the bunch; it was also different. During the daytime, the large crystal shimmered a brilliant, yellow-white light, mimicking the sun that you would see on the outside. The smaller crystals would shine a light blue, similar to the sky. From what I could tell, this underground oasis was on a 24-hour day-night cycle, so it shouldn't be too difficult to adjust from my usual schedule back in my real world. Hopefully, it's the same as the world outside this dungeon as well.
"It looks like the coast is clear, Momonga-sama," Demiurge muttered over his shoulder.
"Then let us move forward," I ordered as we emerged from the line of bushes surrounding the clearing.
A wide expansive field leads up to the doorway, but it isn't completely empty. People set up camps all around the clearing. There are about six or seven different settlements, each keeping to themselves. There must be some sort of degree of separation, most likely guilds or raid parties. It doesn't make it difficult to pass through them, but they certainly weren't making it easy with their frequent patrols for monsters lying in wait. I don't blame them for setting up camp here, though; I have been guilty of the same practice in the past. There have been many a time when I simply didn't have the money to stay at an inn and had to use the tent item to replenish health and mana.
Oh, the woes of a new player. Learning how to manage my money correctly in Yggdrasil was a tough lesson.
Demiurge went ahead to look around before ushering me through a gap between two tents, "This way, please."
I glanced at the creature as I went by, trying to stop myself from sighing. Narberal Gamma had accompanied me to the top floor of Nazarick. Just as we were about to leave, Demiurge's underlings appeared. Demiurge was immediately alerted, which led him directly to us. After explaining to him that I was headed off to see this supposed, "Boss Room," and that he should hold down the fort while we were gone. He insisted that he come along with his minions. Luckily for me, he was easily persuaded down to just bringing him along.
Demiurge paved the way for Narberal and me. We masterfully worked our way through the surrounding camps and reached the doorway undetected. It was then that I got my first look at the natives. Most of them appeared to be normal humanoids, but I can see a smattering of pointed ears indicative of elves, as well as the furry, animal ears of anthropomorphized beast species; they seem to come in many varieties like cats, dogs, and wolves. There also seemed to be shorter races. A group of thick, bearded men drank and guffawed around a bonfire; Dwarves I assume. Others resembled children, but they were strong and drinking all the same; Hobbits, maybe?
"Momonga-sama, are you prepared?" Narberal inquired as she clutched her long mythril and gold staff. She was wearing her very own customized armor. Nishikienrai put a lot of work into Narberal Gamma, her clothing included.
All of the outfits for the maids were created by Whitebrim, HeroHero, and Coup de Grace, but the Pleiades had a separate uniform, an armor set designed by their respective creators. Narberal's armor closely resembled the canon maid outfit, but it was made completely out of tough, high tier metal. It was shaped like a bell, her skirt flaring out before falling to the floor. A thick, silver cross lie along her sternum, the crossbar supported her breasts underneath, and the tail-end of the cross fell along her stomach to end above her skirt. With yellow armguards and layered steel, Narberal Gamma was ready for anything.
I peered down at my own armor that I created with my [CREATE GREATER ITEM] spell. It was solid black with gold and silver engravings with a red cape draped over my right shoulder. I figured that if we were ever spotted, I at least wouldn't attract undue attention to ourselves. Narberal and Demiurge look human enough to get away with an unexpected interaction with the natives, but a seven-foot-tall skeleton could cause some trouble. The last thing we need right now is to have a group of armed mercenaries come snooping around and finding Nazarick.
Though, even with an armor set that I would only consider "decent," I am still better equipped than just about all of the natives I've seen thus far, by several tiers from what I can tell.
I shrugged under the slight weight of the pair of massive claymore blades that I spawned with a similar spell and nodded at Narberal's question, "Let's move on."
We entered the long, dark stairwell. The ramp was steep and led so far up that there was no light to be seen. Darkness surrounded us as we made our way up the empty corridor. As I was contemplating that this stairway was longer than expected, a light glimmered in the distance. The light eventually grew into a wide door that gave us a peek into the room awaiting our arrival.
The dirt floor was gray and dusty, like moon rock; it must have been the result of many fierce battles with the boss pulverizing the rock on the ground into a fine powder. In the distance, the far end of the room is another sheer wall with a hole, most likely leading up to the floors above. I noticed that the amount of light in the room doesn't quite correlate with the fact that I don't see a single crystal anywhere. It wasn't until we cleared the stairwell that the source of the light was revealed.
It was a wall made of pure opal. Light shining through the glittering stone caused a plethora of colors to radiate outward, sending a shimmer of blue, green, and purple across the gray walls. The dust we kicked up with our footsteps seemed to be repelled by the opalescent stone, not allowing the drab powder to mar the beautiful sight we beheld. If I could breathe, I'm sure I would have gasped. Narberal hummed with interest while Demiurge gave it an arrogant glance, as if he had seen something far more impressive before.
Yggdrasil has some incredible visuals that were groundbreaking for their day, but this…
With our footfalls muffled by the dust, we trudged through the pulverized rock to the center of the room. This place has poor footing. Hopefully we won't need to move too much. Considering the level the natives appear to be, I don't think we should have much trouble, but just to be safe… I mumble a few spells under my breath to buff my stats.
[GREATER MAGIC SHIELD]
With these buffs, I've cut magic and physical damage as well as gave my spells a bit more of a punch.
That should be enough to take on this… Er…
"So, where is this boss?" I can't help but ask as my voice echoes off the empty room's walls.
"I do not sense any presences," Demiurge responds, sending an accusatory glare to the present Pleiades Maid. "Are you certain of the report's validity? Surely a handful of primitive beasts could not possibly give a proper account."
Narberal inclined her head in deference, "I was assured by Aura-sama that her thrall was perfectly capable of performing a reconnaissance mission. If the report is inaccurate, then I must have misunderstood. If that is the case, I apologize most sincerely."
"It is not a problem," I said, trying my best to prevent the disappointment from leaking into my words. "That makes things simpler. I will instruct Aura to send her beasts to the upper—"
A rumble. Small pebbles danced over the dusty ground, leaving trails behind them. A large shadow passed behind the opal wall, blocking out the light and covering us in its darkness. A handprint appears against the white stone as another rumble travels up our legs and shakes our spines. Narberal immediately pointed her staff at the shadow and Demiurge squared his shoulders, both of them prepared for anything. I merely looked on as a spiderweb of cracks appeared around the creature's hand.
There was an explosion of force. The opaque stone burst forth, sending glass-like shards all around us. The sound was deafening as the monster swung its huge arms through the wall, its mouth already open wide with a roar. Human-like teeth lined its maw. Its jaw gaped so broadly that it most likely unhinged its joints just so it could roar even louder. It wasn't until the debris settled that I noticed the explosion and the roar were in fact the same event.
Was that some sort of attack? I should keep an eye out for that. A boss with a ranged attack could be difficult to handle if its strength is enough to overwhelm us.
As Narberal's report stated, it was a humanoid creature, seemingly male, roughly seven meters tall, and, as is indicative of its muscular stature, physically strong. As for the appearance of the monster, it had a mop of black hair that fell to its shoulders. Behind its sloppy bangs, completely black eyes were sunk into the creature's face. A deformed nose sat above its wide mouth, clouds of steam erupting from them like someone's frosty breath on a winter day. All of it was wrapped in a layer of gray skin to match the color of the walls and floor.
Its eyes focused on us immediately after its emergence. It let out another bestial howl before taking a heavy step toward us. The entire room shook with each step, causing even more rocks to loosen and fall.
"Momonga-sama," the maid's expression hardened as she awaited my commands. She remained vigilant as the monster slowly approached.
I peered up at the beast, staring into its animalistic eyes. My own gaze traced its figure, taking is everything I could about it. I wanted to see how it moved, how it acted, how it responded. I want to know more.
"Narberal, halt its movement," I give the order.
It was instantaneous. Sheets of ice as thick as a steel I-beam surrounded the monster and erupted into a field of frozen pikes. In mid stride, the beast was unable to stop itself as it stepped down on a concentrated bunch of spires, tearing holes in its own feet. Fresh blood and viscera scattered about in torrents, staining the bluish-white ice sanguine. I am normally very squeamish, and yet I am not bothered by the gore in the least. My transformation into an undead must have been quite thorough. As if the ice was alive, it wrapped and coiled around the creature wherever it touched.
The boss fell forward, attempting to catch itself with its expansive hands, only to be similarly pierced and trapped by the Doppelganger's ice spell. It shook its head about in a wild fit of rage, loosing yowls and shouts of anger. It tore and ripped and sliced and gnashed, doing its absolute best to break out of its icy prison. It tried, but to no avail. Narberal's spell continued to wind its way around the monster until its movements stopped. Ice completely encased the beast until the creature's head was the only part touching open air.
The so-called "boss" was reduced to a block of ice, like a prehistoric animal frozen in time. Its head hanged loosely as it heaved painful breaths. It growled and moaned as the hoarfrost spread, crawling slowly up its neck. Before the ice reached its jawline, the spell ceased. The ice, partially dyed red by the monster's blood, was holding resiliently against the boss' panicked struggle.
I approached, my curiosity getting the better of me. The monster's hair stopped whipping about as the creature turned its gaze to me, calming for a moment. It's saucer-sized, black eyes glared at me, but there was nothing in them. It was a blank stare that told me there was nothing inside the beast's head. The only thing it wanted was for me to die. It's intent to kill, maul, destroy, maim, pummel, hammer, and rip leaked from its very pores. There was no intelligence, no inquiring contemplation, no sense of awareness at all; just empty wrath.
I got within a few short feet before the boss' mouth opened and a howl of epic proportions was released from its gullet. The air swelled with power as a ripple tore through it. Before I could react, the beast fired off one of its howl attacks, blasting the surrounding rock and dust into the air in a spectacular cloud. It was an impressive attack, one that would devastate any creature below level fifteen back in Yggdrasil. The damage it caused to the terrain could even be considered an Area Of Effect. Any warriors in the near vicinity or clustered together would have been bombarded by rocks and boulders, as well as blinded by the dust lingering in the atmosphere, if they survive the initial blast that is.
It was really impressive…
At least for a low-tier boss.
"How lively," I mused as the debris settled around me. "You are quite obviously a raid-type boss, meant to be fought with upwards of ten to twenty warriors. However, I must inform you that you have met your match a hundred times over."
Another blast of energy. Another plume of dust explodes into the air. Another chuckle escapes my jet black helm. I brush the dust from my shoulders, taking note that not even my cape was shorn.
"As expected of Momonga-sama," Demiurge bowed lowly while showering me with admiration. "Nothing in this land of heathens could possibly stand toe-to-toe with a Supreme Being."
The boss opened its mouth a third time to attack again, but it was quickly foiled by more ice. The blast bounded off the ice and exploded inside the creature's mouth. Its cheeks expanded, but managed to contain the results of the attack. There was no damage, not even a crack or blemish on the frozen plug covering the monster's mouth. Smoke billowed from its nose and ears, black eyes rolled into the back of its head, its head drooped, and the monster fell unconscious. It was almost comical, in a way.
I stared at the "boss" with an unwavering gaze of intrigue. "Thank you, Narberal," I said halfheartedly. My eyes were exclusively locked on the monster we have captured.
Fascinating. Judging by the amount of damage it was capable of doing in a single attack, I would say that it is definitely a boss. Placing the level of players that would take on this monstrosity at about fifteen, I cannot say for certain how far down in the dungeon the boss room is situated. Games usually introduce bosses early on in the story to teach players about special monster types and events. Players that reach level ten and over are used to the system by then, allowing for more complicated and strategic boss battles.
This boss' move set attacks multiple targets and requires a large number of seasoned players to tackle. It will also require several support characters to ensure that no one dies and misses out on the experience and loot.
Does experience even exist here? How about loot? What happens when you die? Can I just respawn, or am I gone forever?
In hindsight, this little venture wasn't the best of ideas. If this monster had turned out a bit more difficult, I could have perished. In all honestly, that is one experiment of which I don't wish to be a subject.
"What would you like to do with it, My Lord?" Demiurge came into view from the side, snapping me out of my reverie. He too turned to study the creature, his glasses and crystal eyes glittering with anticipation.
I opened my mouth to say something, but I couldn't think of anything to say. Honestly, what CAN I do with this thing? I just wanted to look at it up close. I was able to learn about it well enough for the time being, but there was still so much that I didn't know. I don't even know what I don't know.
"Take it with us," I turn away. "There is much to learn. A powerful monster like this should provide some helpful data."
"Understood," he bows with acceptance and moves to Narberal. "Return to Nazarick and prepare my workshop for our 'guest.'"
"Yes, Demiurge-sama," with a curt bow to the Floor Guardian, then a deep bow to me, the maid disappeared through a Gate.
Demiurge and I stood watch over the fallen boss. As the creature slept, tests ran through my mind, experiments I wanted to run. Listing off my ruminations, I spoke, "I want to know what makes this thing tick. Map out its anatomy and make a report about its internal systems. I want to know if and what it eats and drinks. Also, check its mental capacity. See if they can be trained or programmed. If they can be useful to Nazarick, I want an army of them. If not, you can do whatever you want with it."
The demon's lips curled into a genuine smile, as if he had just received a gift from his admirer. He lowered his head with a hand over his heart, "Thank you, Momonga-sama. My hands will work with reckless abandon."
It was only a few moments until Narberal Gamma returned through the Gate with several of the maids in tow. The group of women surrounded the block of ice and heaved it into the air. Their strength was surprising, considering they were all level one homunculi. Leave it to nonhumans to be much stronger than their human counterparts.
Smoothly, they slipped through the Gate into Demiurge's workshop. With the work done, the demon turned to me with an arm outstretched toward the Gate. I take one last look around the Boss Room. Without realizing, I begin musing, "I hope this world has a lot more to offer me. It would be a shame if all of the monsters here are this weak."
Demiurge chuckled and inclined his head, "Of course, Momonga-sama, there are no creatures in any world that could possibly be a match for a Supreme Being."
I sighed. I then trudged past the demon. I know he was trying to flatter me. Hell, he may have been telling the truth. I'm just really…
"How disappointing," I muttered under my breath as we all entered the Gate.
She saw the shadows travel through the staircase doorway. Her brow furrowed at the thought of a party heading back to the surface at night. The dungeon got perilous at night. More dangerous monsters spawned from the walls once the sun set. It may be a good chance for more seasoned Adventurers to find rare monsters that give valuable drops, but most don't bother. The chances of finding anything worth risking their lives wouldn't be found in the upper levels anyway.
Glancing around, she saw that she was alone; no one else saw what she had seen. Rather than alert her superiors, she felt obligated to make sure the party got past the Boss Room safely before returning to camp. The Monster Rex was defeated a couple weeks prior, so it is due to respawn. If the group didn't realize that the Boss could spawn tonight, they might be in for a big surprise when they traverse the room.
She should at least warn them, right?
Quickly crossing the clearing, she headed through the doorway and up the flight of stairs. When she didn't see anyone, her head tilted slightly. They must be moving pretty fast. Sprinting through the Boss Room would be a good idea if they didn't wish to tangle with the Monster Rex. Unfortunately, that means the next group will have to deal with it, but the odds are she and her Familia will be the ones to take it down anyway. Hopefully no other parties try to leave before hers does.
She was only about halfway up the stairs when she heard the howl of the Monster Rex. Her eyes widened as the walls of the stairway shook and cracked. Without a hint of hesitation, she rushed up the remaining stairs to the room above. She couldn't let them get hurt, not while she was around. She was strong. It was for times like these that she was strong. If she could help, she would give her absolute best.
When the light of the Boss Room filled her eyes, she skidded to a halt. The sight she beheld stopped her dead in her tracks. Her eyes were as wide as they could possibly go, her mouth parting in a baffled gape. What she saw was improbable, impossible. She rubbed her eyes in an attempt to wipe away the image. Surely, the scene before her was her imagination leaking into reality. Taking a breath, her eyes took it all in again.
The Monster Rex was still encased in a block of ice so large, it rivaled the sky crystals from the floor below. Three people stood around it, the woman in maid attire pulling her staff back; did she do this with magic? The man in orange stood to the side. What was that on his back? A blade? It moved like a whip. In fact, it moved independent of the man, like a separate animal. He carried himself casually, but she could tell he was all business. Something about him made her uneasy. His presence was so off putting that a chill would crawl up her spine every time she looked at him. She could tell he was not someone to cross.
The large figure in full black armor stood close to the Monster Rex. She assumed the figure was male, considering its size. His armor set was astonishing. Adventurers rarely wore full plate armor because it made it difficult to move, especially in the tight quarters of the dungeon. It makes you a larger target and hinders action. It wasn't a good tradeoff for taking a little less damage. However, this man carried himself as if he didn't even know how it felt to experience pain. He exuded power despite having barely moved.
It was his presence that prevented her from stepping out. She wanted to know who they were. She wanted to understand just how strong they were. She has taken on the Monster Rex Goliath several times. Recently, she has fought it alone whenever she had the chance; it was a good way to keep herself limber. The Goliath is the first Boss, so it wasn't much of a threat to a Level Five like she. She has never seen the Boss so utterly dominated before. Many Adventurers have died fighting this monster, but they effortlessly captured it. The sight alone was enough to dumbfound the "Sword Princess."
Monster Rex Goliath opened its mouth and let out a powerful Howl. It was an attack she had seen many times. She had been hit by it before, though just glancing blows and debris caused by the impact. The Black Warrior took the full brunt of the attack at point blank range. It was such a jarring sound that she nearly called out to warn them, her hand raised to get the unknown Adventurers' attention. She decided to listen to her better judgement and pulled her hand back, hoping that they didn't notice her.
Her eyes widened more when the dust cleared and the Black Warrior stood strong without a single scratch on his armor. It doesn't even look like he was pushed back by the force of the Howl. She gawked in disbelief.
"How lively," a deep, dark voice seeping with amusement echoed from the room. It sounded muffled by a helm, so she assumed it came from the Black Warrior. "You are quite obviously a raid-type boss, meant to be fought with upwards of ten to twenty warriors. However, I must inform you that you have met your match a hundred times over."
The Monster Rex released another Howl at the Black Warrior as if in defiance. Again, the explosion destroyed the ground surrounding him, but the Black Warrior remained completely untouched, not a speck of dust tarnishing his exquisite armor.
"As expected of Momonga-sama," the disturbing man bowed to the armored Adventurer. "Nothing in this land of heathens could possibly stand toe-to-toe with a Supreme Being."
Momonga? She never heard a name like that. And did he refer to him as a "Supreme Being?" Does that mean the Black Warrior is a God from Tenkai? But Gods weren't allowed down here in the dungeon.
There was another explosion, but this time there was no plume of smoke. Ice bloomed like a flower over the Monster Rex's mouth, causing its attack to backfire. In a cloud of steam, the monster went limp. She was now just as wary of the woman in the metallic maid attire. Without a single word or incantation, she formed ice at a speed that would make Reveria look like an amateur. Was it a characteristic of her staff? Perhaps a Magic Weapon? She didn't see an aura around the weapon, so the magic must have come from her. Can such a powerful Mage really exist?
"What would you like to do with it, My Lord?" the orange one asked the Black Warrior.
"Take it with us," he turned from the Monster Rex toward her direction. The swordswoman ducked to the side, pressing her body hard against the stairwell wall. Her heart raced from nearly being caught snooping. "There is much to learn. A powerful monster like this should provide some helpful data."
Where are they taking it? How would they get it through the doorway? The creature was far too large to carry. What if it wakes up? It will go on a rampage if it can get away from them. How many people could get hurt or killed if a Monster Rex were released in the upper levels, or worse, close to the Guild?
She peeked around the wall to get a better look. The woman had disappeared, but the orange man and the Black Warrior were standing around the captured Boss. When the black one glared at the Boss with interest, she froze. Something cold and dark crept into her mind like cool water poured over seared skin. Her breathing was ragged and her body was shaking. A simple glance at the tall man sent her into a state of catatonia. Her senses screamed at her to flee and warn the others that a real monster had emerged. The Monster Rex was nothing compared to this. This feeling wasn't new to her; it had been with her ever since she became an Adventurer. It was an emotion that she learned to control. She forced it to become an advantage for her. It was why she could be so strong.
Fear was a powerful motivator, but right now, it ruled her.
A number of footsteps snapped her out of her fear induced coma. She slowly peered around the corner again and was shocked to see that the frozen, unconscious Boss was gone, ice and all. The only ones that remained were the orange man and the Black Warrior. The orange man was beckoning the armored one to enter a swirling, purple and black ball of darkness. With silent footfalls, uncharacteristic of heavy plate armor, the Black Warrior marched toward the empty light and promptly disappeared.
The orange man turned toward what seemed to be a portal. It was the first time she was able to see him from the front. His black, spiked hair rose several inches above his head and his small glasses somehow managed to cover his eyes. His features were long and pointed and his mouth was wide. With each step, his tail-like appendage swayed back and forth. Overall, she would call him stylish, but he was terrifying to behold.
A glance. A widening of the lips. Sharp, bestial teeth bared at her in a devilish grin that stopped her heart. She couldn't budge, for she was frozen yet again. He too halted in his tracks and stared. For what seemed like several minutes, the two would not break their gazes. She started to sweat, her teeth chattered, her knees knocked, and all the while, all he did was stare.
His shoulders rose and dropped like he was laughing, and like a ghost, he faded away into the portal. The black mist disappeared and all of the malice that had surrounded her fell away. She fell to her knees, breathing hard like she had just been through a solo dungeon run. Her hands felt clammy and she believed she had fallen ill.
Who were they? What did they want? How did they do what they did?
Pushing herself up on shaky legs, she made her way back down the stairs with an unsteady gait. She needed rest. Her mind wasn't working. There were so many things going through it that the only solution she could come up with to ease her fatigue was to sleep it off to process it all. She contemplated informing her Familia, even writing a Guild Report, but after seeing what she had just seen, it might be best to let sleeping dogs lie. Actively going after those three might be the biggest mistake of her life. Who knows how many Adventurers they would need to throw at them to even make a dent?
All she knew was that she had a lot of work ahead of her. She needed to be even stronger than she ever has. If she didn't, she had the sneaking suspicion that she would end up in the same situation as the Monster Rex Goliath. That would definitely be a tragic end for the Sword Princess.
****Chapter 1 END****
Okay, that's it for now. It ended up pretty long, mostly because I wanted to show a bit more than just Momonga doing normal Momonga things and to give you some ideas how things might play out.
The last scene might come off as a bit rushed. I have been writing this for a while and I wanted to finally put it out there. Now that the first bit is out of my mind, I can start on the new stuff that has been exploding out my ears for weeks.
Anyway, if you have any comments, reviews, criticisms, or if you just plain hate me, please let me know. I accept all forms of abuse. =)