Damn Being X. I've been in this nonsensical school-world for three weeks now, yet still none of it makes sense. Okay, it's definitely still better than having to spend every night in some muddy trench, but just when I finally managed to get reassigned to some proper desk-work doing research, that MAD scientist finds a way to get me back to flying with a cursed computation orb in one hand and a defective experiment considerably less stable than a hand grenade in the other.
I'm a Major! That is definitely not my job! Why is it that no matter how much I get promoted I can't get out of those ridiculous assignments? Not only that, but when the thing was about to explode and I tried to hit the emergency shutoff, I instead get brought to this silly world together together with some of my men who weren't even in the same city at the time? There's got to be a limit to this nonsense!
The small girl wearing a slightly baggy military uniform grumbling to herself while walking towards the school building was Major Tanya von Degurechaff, Commander of the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion. Though an outsider looking on might smile and think her to be playing pretend, in truth, both the silver medal on her chest, the rank insignia on her shoulders, as well as the experimental military-grade computation orb around her neck were entirely real, earned through her years of service.
Given that she was still not even 13 years old, those outsiders would probably say that the school bag she carried was a better fit for her than the rifle she was actually more used to carrying around. Despite this, the subordinates who had spent months and years flying together through every flavor of hell under her command would either laugh at such a joke, or worry about what the Major might say if she heard it herself.
In reality, she wouldn't mind hearing that sort of common sense, unfortunately lacking on her everyday battlefields. For all her first-hand experience as a aerial combat mage, she did not particularly like spending weeks on end under non-stop artillery fire. Despite her combat record practically being a battlefield legend which doubled as heroic propaganda, she herself saw it as a pointless waste of perfectly good human capital. Better than getting killed herself, certainly, but to her the colossal waste of munitions and human resources known as total war was a sin against reason and free-market economics.
Most who knew of her knew a living demon of the battlefield, the Devil of the Rhine. Though Imperial records might list her by her official nickname, "White Silver", even allies had come to instead call her "Rusted Silver". To both, she was a death god. She would rain destruction on her enemies together with her elite battalion, but anybody saved by her might yet drown in the waves of enemies who would then redouble their assault in an effort to get rid of her.
Contrary to this reputation, however, Tanya herself would much prefer the life of a military academy in the capital to days on the front lines. Peaceful days in this fantastical school, though unusual, should have been much more enjoyable than having to risk getting her head shot off by snipers in the desert.
Naturally, she understood the value of this peace, and even though her "classmates" included fantasy adventurers, a self-proclaimed Goddess, elves, demons, and an undead overlord, she had successfully established productive, working relationships with them. The undead Overlord, Ainz Ooal Gown, who looked able to wipe out humanity (and was probably capable of doing so) was actually in much the same situation as her, having wound up in an unfamiliar body in a different world, and two of the other humans were similarly from her own world in their past lives.
The four of them had been made to participate in some imitation of a sports festival against a mismatched group of 'teachers' and for some unknown reason an ancient robot superweapon known as the Mobile Fortress, Destroyer, which she was told had self-destructed. Together they had won and built relationships of real trust between them.
At least that was the plan…
So what's with this situation all of a sudden!?
Though she arrived in the classroom at the same time as always – usually before everybody else – she instinctively froze when met with a literal wave of murderous intent thick enough that it would be visible even to a human with no magic ability. Waiting for her in front of the door stood Ainz and his subordinate, the demon Demiurge, whom she had thought of as a good friend.
She glanced behind the two of them at the rest of Ainz's subordinates: Albedo being the source of the obvious bloodlust, as if preparing to kill her at a moment's notice. Shalltear not bothering to look at her. Cocytus appraising her with an unreadable expression. Aura smiling at her while Mare nervously alternated between looking at his sister, Ainz, and Tanya. Lastly, she looked back towards Demiurge with his usual confident smile and his arms folded in front of him, then to Ainz, who was leaking an incredibly ominous black aura with enough physical pressure for her to consider putting up a magic barrier in self-defense.
What is with this gathering? No, any way you look at it they're threatening me, aren't they? What the hell? I thought we were getting along fine, that they were all rational people who could be relied on! What is with this atmosphere all of a sudden! Is this supposed to be some kind of court martial? What the hell did I do to them?!
While doing her absolute best to not let her panic show, she unfroze herself and gave a stiff salute.
"Good Morning!" (Tanya)
Polite greetings and formality never hurt! I thought we had gotten closer than that, but as if I could casually call out to them in this kind of situation!
"Umu. Demiurge. Give her that." (Ainz)
In response to her greeting, Ainz gave a brief order to the demon, who nodded and took a large envelope with a crimson seal from his suit, bearing the emblem of the guild, Ainz Ooal Gown.
"Understood, Ainz-sama. Tanya Von Degurechaff, I present to you this envelope, containing an offer for employment." (Demiurge)
One hour earlier, when Ainz opened the door to the classroom and walked in, each of his subordinates immediately stood and bowed to him. As planned, they had gathered to exchange information between the Guardians. Although he arrived right on schedule, everybody else had evidently been waiting for a while, so as to not waste even a second of their master's time.
"Ainz-sama. The Floor Guardians are assembled before you to present our reports. As ordered, we have already prepared the full set of anti-espionage enchantments in this classroom described in Punitto Moe-sama's guide. Furthermore, the Pleiades have returned to our control, and have been deployed as lookouts around the building. For the next half-hour, we should be able to freely exchange information without risking interception." (Albedo)
"Good work, Albedo. To the rest of the Guardians, as well, thank you for gathering here on time. Please begin your reports, starting from Shalltear." (Ainz)
"As you wish. I have focused my examination on the two demon maids, Rem and Ram. The two of are primarily loyal to the teacher, Roswaal, though based on what I heard from them, he is only a teacher as a result of being in this world. Still, given that he is currently taking the role of a teacher, he is unlikely to attack." (Shalltear)
"They. Demonstrated. Impressive. Physical. Ability. Would. They. Be. A. Threat. If. They. Attacked?" (Cocytus)
"Impossible. Both their physical abilities and levels of magic could perhaps be considered able to harm the Pleiades, but not to kill them. There is no chance of them being a meaningful threat to us Guardians, let alone Ainz-sama." (Shalltear)
"Is that so? Then, what about the others in their group? The half-elf with a spirit companion, the human male, and the magician girl? Are any of them of concern?" (Albedo)
"Um, Betty-san is a really nice person… I don't think she would try attacking us…" (Mare)
"Mare, you were supposed to be reporting on their combat ability, not praising them!" (Aura)
"I'm sorry, onee-chan…" (Mare)
Mare interrupted to give his own impressions of the girl with whom he worked in the library, but was instead scolded by his sister, and was now looking apologetically at her.
"It's fine, Mare. Continue your explanation." (Ainz)
"Yes, Ainz-sama! We spend time together in the library, and doesn't seem interested in going out of her way to fight us. Her magic is pretty strong, stronger than the maids, but weaker than mine, I think? It's hard to say since she hasn't actually done any fighting…" (Mare)
"Yes, well done, Mare. Continue to get along with her." (Ainz)
Ainz placed his bony hand on Mare's head, who was now beaming from receiving his master's praise. In reality, the twins had lived the better part of a century, being in their 70's – far longer than Ainz himself. Regardless, they were the children his companions had created, and he treated them as if they were his own.
"Okay! If we're talking about threats, you'd think of that blue-haired girl, Aqua, the priest calling herself a goddess, right? She's a really rude person! Even though she's supposed to be taking care of the animals with me and Subaru, she never actually does her job. Not only that, but the one time she actually did show up, she started trying to dispel Ainz-sama's Death Knight. Seriously, talk about rude!" (Aura)
Aura jumped forward in front of Mare and Ainz, then gave her own report, full of insults towards the one who had previously tried attacking their master. Unsurprisingly, neither was particularly interested in getting along with the other.
"Not only did she suddenly attack us in the street, but the crazy bitch now turns on Ainz-sama's pets? Unforgivable!" (Shalltear)
"Well, honestly though, she's surprisingly reaallly weak. Even though you're useless against her, and that holy-element magic of hers could harm Ainz-sama a little, that's all she can do. If Ainz-sama were to use anti-holy equipment, or if we just had anybody except you fight, she's a total pushover. Subaru's an ordinary human, and I think he's probably stronger… Even that boy in her own party beats her up, doesn't he?" (Aura)
"Indeed, it might be better to interpret that first encounter against her as a mistake caused by letting our guard down because she used such a low-level spell. Based on Aura's analysis, so long as we have sufficient preparation against holy-element attacks, we should have no issues." (Ainz)
Before the two could start their bickering, Ainz quickly stepped in with his own conclusion, causing Shalltear to immediately return her attention to Ainz.
"Their group's magic caster showed off her ability to use magic of a similar nature to the 9th tier magic, [Nuclear Blast]. However, her cast-time was incomparably worse, almost as long as it would take for me to activate Super-tier magic. Furthermore, if she really only has enough MP to cast that spell a single time, it is not very practical for actual combat. Not only that, but considering that even the Super-tier magic [Fallen Down] or [Sword of Damocles] cannot kill most of the Guardians in a single strike, that Explosion magic certainly could not either. It is difficult to seriously consider her a threat." (Ainz)
"Agreed. That. Magic. Is. Far. Too. Visible. For. A. Surprise. Attack. Yet. Too. Slow. To. Activate. Before. We. Could. Respond. Their. Crusader. Is. The. Opposite. She. Is. Tough. But. Lacks. Any. Decisive. Power. To. Damage. Us." (Cocytus)
Ainz and Cocytus examined the two from the standpoint of a gamer and warrior, though neither was terribly favorable. Still, considering the standards of the Guardians, Cocytus's words could be taken as high praise towards a human.
"Then, last would be their leader, Kazuma. What do you think of him, Demiurge?" (Ainz)
"He is not even worthy of consideration. Though I had initially marked him as worthy of investigation upon seeing him casually hit that goddess, it appears to be as Aura has judged: She simply possesses high-powered holy magic, and none of the other divinity one would expect from a god. He is every bit the lazy degenerate he initially appeared to be. Tanya-dono mentioned that he possesses anomalous luck and some ability to aid the accuracy of ranged weapons, however neither is usable. Forget about the Pleiades, I cannot imagine he could even threaten the Lizardmen." (Demiurge)
"He was the one who was so openly lusting after Albedo that time, was he not?" (Shalltear)
"Yes… Though rather than that worthless man, I'm more interested in why you would show so much respect towards that human girl, Demiurge." (Albedo)
"Do not be deceived by appearances, Albedo. Despite her age, I believe her to have intelligence nearly on par with you or myself." (Demiurge)
"Are you serious? I heave heard that she is a capable commander, but can you really make such an assertion based on just a few weeks of observation? She has hardly acted, has she not?" (Albedo)
"If you have not noticed, then you have missed it because of your own bias against humans. She tricked you, Albedo. She has shown you exactly the front she wanted you to see, and you convinced yourself that she was trying to seduce Ainz-sama, instead of digging any deeper. She has the mind of a demon, able to make strictly rational decisions and prioritize efficiency over everything, without falling into the traps of human emotion. I saw in her a fragment of the perfection Ainz-sama possesses." (Demiurge)
"Oho? I thought you two had become friends, but for you to offer her that much praise? This is beyond my expectation" (Ainz)
"No, no, there is no need for such words, Ainz-sama. After all, you noticed it before I did. You left with her that day because you saw through her act, did you not? For me to only notice after you pointed it out to me, I can only think of as a failure on my part." (Demiurge)
Where did he get that idea? She was the one who called me out to talk, what part of that did he think was part of my plan? Furthermore, the reason we ended up getting along after that was because we found out we were both former Japanese, not because I saw through anything! Why does he have this much trust in me? Not that I can say any of that!
"Haha, so you saw through it after all.. As expected of Nazarick's strategic commander, you had already noticed then, had you not?" (Ainz)
"I am honored by your words, Ainz-sama." (Demiurge)
"So you were so afraid of her taking Ainz-sama away from you that you missed something like that? Do you have so little confidence in becoming the head wife that even that little girl threatened your position?" (Shalltear)
"Silence. Do not pretend you noticed anything that I hadn't. You were so certain that Ainz-sama wouldn't be interested in that girl's body that you felt safe, but haven't you just sealed your own fate?" (Albedo)
"Haaah?" Shalltear stood with a shout.
"Ah, they're at it again… I'll leave it to you to mediate, Aura" (Demiurge)
Again? Do they regularly have these sorts of discussions? I accept that I hold some blame for tampering with Albedo's settings, but Shalltear as well? What does she need to have that kind of obsession with dead things? What the hell, Peroroncino!?
"Ahem… Demiurge, what do you propose we do, then? If we assume she is indeed capable of deceiving Albedo or yourself… As I thought, do we have no choice but to go with that?" (Ainz)
"Indeed, I believe that is our best choice. Previously I might not have thought of it, but since we already have established precedent, I believe it a reasonable solution. With your approval, I will prepare everything. (Demiurge)
I have no idea what 'that' is though! What exactly is he suggesting for us to do to her? You said there's precedent, but I have no clue what he's referring to. Is this my fault for not reading his reports carefully enough? The last time I followed along with his plans he took over a country, so that precedent can't possibly be anything good, can it?
"Um… What are you talking about, Demiurge?" (Mare)
Good job, Mare!
"Explain our plan to everybody else, Demiurge." (Ainz)
"As you wish. As you are all no doubt aware, at the core of Ainz-sama's plan to conquer the Re-Estize Kingdom is the Third Princess, Renner. She has been tasked with preparing the Kingdom for our invasion, and will later serve as its ruler and our Sorcerous Kingdom's vassal. By Ainz-sama's grace, should she succeed, she would receive the opportunity to ascend to a position equivalent to that of an Area Guardian within the ranks of Nazarick's forces. Such is what I believe to be Ainz-sama's plan, based on the hints I received." (Demiurge)
My plan? That's completely something you came up with, isn't it? I think I saw the name Renner appear in one of his reports, but who was she, the princess? Albedo is nodding along, even Aura and Mare are acting as if they've heard this before, so is it really only me who hasn't? For now, just nod magnanimously!
"This individual is the precedent I am referring to. Should she succeed in preparing the Kingdom and unlocking the Sealed Puzzle Box granted to her by Ainz-sama without being detected, she would prove herself qualified to serve Nazarick. What Ainz-sama is proposing is that we apply tests of a similar nature to Tanya-dono. Unfortunately, we have been dragged into this world with nothing that could take the role of the Sealed Box, so I instead propose performing the Devil's Blood Pact as a test." (Demiurge)
"Oho? The Devil's Blood Pact, that's a name I haven't heard for a long time." (Ainz)
"To know of the secrets of demons, I am once again amazed by your boundless wisdom." (Demiurge)
"I simply heard the details from Ulbert-san, it is nothing so impressive" (Ainz)
Ulbert, one of the first members of the Guild, as well as Demiurge's creator. Unknown to the guardians, he did not actually start playing YGGDRASIL as a demon, but rather had to become one using that ritual, the Devil's Blood Pact. One would first have to find a non-hostile NPC with the Archdevil race – of which very few existed – then collect 10 levels' worth of unspent experience points, which would turn be used to give the player 5 levels of the Lesser Devil race, plus 5 levels of one of the other demon-type races possessed by the NPC.
It sounded simple enough when he thought of it like this, but the ritual gave Ulbert no end of trouble. Information gathering had always been part of YGGDRASIL's core design, and there was no convenient wiki describing those requirements. It was relatively common knowledge that becoming an Imp required using 'Fallen Seeds', but other demon races were still unknown at the time. Ulbert had to figure it out himself through trial-and-error, and in the end became the first player to become part of the demon race.
Anybody less obsessed with playing a villain would probably have given up long ago, but Ulbert was convinced that YGGDRASIL wouldn't have included NPC demons without making the race playable – and turned out to be right. After that, he started proactively spreading the method to anybody who would listen, as part of his own role-play. As a result, Ainz hadn't even considered that this was supposed to be a secret among demons, though that might explain why it was so hard for Ulbert to learn about it.
Ainz paused for a moment to think and reminisce, then nodded back to Demiurge.
"Very well, Demiurge, I will support your judgment on this matter. If the individual herself accepts, you may proceed." (Ainz)
"Thank you very much, Ainz-sama" (Demiurge)
"Please forgive my ignorance, but I am unfamiliar with this pact you speak of. Could you be so kind as to enlighten me, Ainz-sama?" (Albedo)
From how Demiurge had described the pact, it was hardly surprising that Albedo and the others wouldn't have heard of it. Still, there was no need risk making a mistake with the details. Ulbert figured out the mechanics, but there was still no way for him to learn about the backstory or other details. Better to defer to the real demon for this. Ainz nodded to Demiurge, who returned the nod and began his explanation.
"The Devil's Blood Pact, as the name implies, requires an archdevil to mix their mana into their blood, then for a member of a human race to ingest that blood, and activate it with their mana. Following this, the blood will reconstruct the human's body into that of a demon's. Anybody without sufficient resistance to magic would be torn apart by the rampaging blood, or have their mind broken by the immense pain. Any human who could survive the process would deserve to be called a true demon, which is why I proposed to use it as a test. Performing the pact also has some personal meaning to both the demon and the subject, but that is not relevant at the moment, so I will leave my explanation at that." (Demiurge)
It was something like that brutal!? Ulbert never said anything like that! No, if I think about it logically, of course none of that would apply when it was a game. After all, it's not like there would be pain or real mental effects in an DMMO, so Ulbert wasn't wrong to describe it like that. To the person having their real body turn into a demon, of course something like that wouldn't be easy. It's a good I heard that explanation, but is it really okay to let him go through with that?
"Demiurge, that sort of thing is hardly sufficient though, is it not? Even if that girl survives the process, it says little about her capability." (Albedo)
"I have already given my support in that regard, as has Ainz-sama. She possesses the ability to resist mental effects, and as Ainz-sama explained, to even show some resistance against his own aura. If that is not sufficient for you, I do not mind if you threaten her with your own. Anybody who falters before something of that degree has no place within Nazarick." (Demiurge)
And they're continuing to raise the bar! Were they always this cruel? Well, we did select 'Extreme Evil' for both of them, but when they're actually here, it's seriously terrifying!
"Very well, I shall do exactly that. We shall see if she is worthy of being one of Ainz-sama's servants." (Albedo)
For the rest of the day, nobody from Ainz's group made any mention of what had happened that morning. The sole exception being Albedo, who continued to leak out her murderous intent to the entire room, causing everybody else to spend the day with a lasting cold sweat, aside from one delighted-looking crusader. When Roswaal asked what she was doing, she simply glared at him and said, "I'm doing something important right now," to which he just answered, "Then it can't be heeeeeelped," and didn't touch the subject again.
To Tanya, it was worrying at first, but since it didn't seem like Albedo was actually going to attack, only to scare her. Perhaps she was opposed to the offer, but she wouldn't act against orders. Probably.
Doing her best to ignore the pressure coming from behind, she thought about the offer they had given her. Work as Demiurge's subordinate. You will be expected to apply your knowledge of military tactics, and to adapt it for use with undead armies. You may be required to instruct others on your system of using magic. Expect to plan against and fight human countries. You will be provided artifact equipment appropriate for your station. Anti-curse countermeasures are available. High-end lodging provided. Become a demon to join up today.
She'd read through the entire letter several times, to the point of memorizing the contents, but still wasn't sure how to react.
How do I respond to something like this? To begin with, do I really have the option to refuse this? Albedo-san has been ready to fight this entire day, if I were to refuse the offer from Demiurge-kun and Ainz, wouldn't she take that as an insult and attack? No… that's unlikely. Ainz told me what kind of position he was in, he might have ended up in a position where he couldn't stop her, but he'd stop them if they really tried to kill us. I need to seriously consider the details of the offer.
Having a logical and rational person like Demiurge-kun as my superior doesn't sound bad, but based on how he treats Ainz, he might also be the type to expect his subordinates to work as Ainz's slaves and kill themselves without hesitation upon making a mistake. I might get some degree of protection from Ainz, but I can't expect him to ruin his reputation among his subordinates just to save me.
Working as a military commander, strategist, and military mage? Sure, that's all fine, that's what I would expect. Not sure why he had to specify that the opponents would be human, but once again, not an issue. I don't know what sort of humans they have in that world, but from the way they act, they are among the strongest. Definitely better to be on their side than against it. Perhaps even safer to not get involved at all, though.
Those artifacts and curse countermeasures are extremely appealing. Ainz definitely knows about the Elenium Type-95 and its curse, so if he's offering that, he might really be able to do something about it. If anybody could do it, they could. They clearly expect me to use it, but if they have a way to remove its curse, it would be a seriously powerful weapon without any drawbacks – nothing could be better. The other artifacts should be quite something as well, given how expensive even their maids' equipment was.
Being X isn't going to leave me alone, even if I went back to the Empire. He's been getting more and more aggressive with the sort of fanatics he sends after me, so even if we could win the war, I might have to spend my entire life worrying about assassination, and that's still assuming that we win. If the Empire is defeated, there's no way I'm getting out of a war crimes trial. Maybe I could avoid execution if I took advantage of my age, but it's a gamble, one that Being X wouldn't hesitate to rig. Against that sort of enemy, having allies on the level of Ainz would definitely be the right call.
Leaving behind Serebryakov, Weiss, and the others after spending so long training them to be my shields seems wasteful, but if I'm worried about leaving them behind for that reason, then I'm definitely getting my priorities backwards. I already prepared everything to transfer command to Weiss over the 2 months before coming here, and anyway my own survival is more important than anything else. Not getting killed by Being X already took everything I had, they'll just have to figure something out without me. Besides, they've spent enough time in hell with me to become real elites, they won't die so easily just because I'm gone.
Then that just leaves the last point, becoming a demon? No way that's just a metaphor. I assume Demiurge-kun has some means to turn humans into demons, and accepting this job would be contingent on accepting that change. For all the people calling me a demon behind my back, I hadn't ever planned on actually becoming one… From my interactions with Demiurge-kun, it might honestly fit me better. If they're all like him, I might actually be able to make some friends.
I'd honestly surprised with how lightly I'm taking this whole 'abandoning humanity', but maybe dying once changes the way you look at life? I already have enough people trying to kill me, I don't think growing a tail or some horns after all this would even change that much.
Don't seem like there's much of a choice after all, not if survival is my main priority. Demiurge-kun completely saw through me. I doubt he would have even given this kind of offer without being certain that I would accept. For all this world's inconsistencies, we can't be sure that getting to their world is even possible, but we definitely won't know without trying.
Yes, there's only one option.
Tanya made her decision as the bell rang, then without hesitation turned towards Demiurge, who was already wearing a satisfied smile.
"Well then, please proceed this way, Tanya-dono" (Demiurge)
Ah, a smile really is by nature a hostile action.
Tanya followed Demiurge out of the classroom. Lieutenant Serebryakov got up to follow her, but Tanya stopped her with a simple order. As they left, Ainz similarly turned to Albedo and said, "That's enough," but nobody else tried to follow them, so she simply continued after Demiurge without another word.
The two of them walked out into the hallway and around the corner, at which point Demiurge took her hand and activated [Greater Teleportation]. Tanya blinked from the unexpected flash, and when she opened her eyes again, she found herself in the center of a plain room, only a few meters across, with completely smooth walls and not a single door or window.
"This is…" (Tanya)
"A sealed-off room which we created for this purpose. As you can see, it is accessible only through teleportation, and far enough away from the school building to avoid attention, deep enough underground to make detection by ordinary means impossible" (Demiurge)
As he gave this brief explanation, he took a small crystal vial out of his pocket, evidently prepared beforehand. Next, he ran one of the fingers on his right hand along a section of his left arm, leaving a thin cut, then let the vial fill before moving his fingers back over the wound, closing it. Finally, he held the vial before his eyes, which released a blue flash, after which the blood in the vial darkened until it was pitch-black.
"Now, drink this. For the next several hours, you must continue running your mana through it as it spreads throughout your body. This will adapt the blood to yourself and reconstruct your body into that of a devil. Provided you survive the process with your sanity intact, you will then be qualified to join the ranks of Nazarick." (Demiurge)
"You expect me to lose my sanity from this? Is it that difficult?" (Tanya)
"I was a devil since the moment I was created by Ulbert-sama, so I cannot speak from personal experience. However, the process of the conversion is rather painful, and continuing to cycle your mana uninterrupted despite that is mentally exhausting as well. It is not something most humans could perform, but I believe you to be capable of it." (Demiurge)
Tanya examined the vial he had given her while carefully listening to his explanation.
"Wouldn't you normally explain details like that beforehand?" (Tanya)
"You aren't going to change your answer just because of something like that, so there was no meaning to doing so. I will leave this scroll for [Teleportation] here, please do feel free to use it once you are finished. I expect your style of magic to be similar enough to our arcane magic for you to have no issues with using it." (Demiurge)
Without waiting to confirm his assertion, Demiurge activated his own teleportation, leaving Tanya alone in the sealed room with the vial and the scroll. As soon as he left, she sighed.
"That's the sort of work hazard you'd normally put in the contract, isn't it? He's not wrong, though, not after I've come this far…" (Tanya)
Tanya muttered to herself while bringing the vial to her mouth, emptying the contents into her small mouth.
The five members of the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion who remained in the classroom were admittedly confused by their commanding officer suddenly leaving without saying anything. Still, they had fought under her command for long enough to trust her with their lives, and so they collectively decided to just trust Tanya's judgment.
The next morning, they entered the classroom at the usual time, freezing one after another as they passed through the door.
"The major… has a tail." (Weiss)
"Ah, gentlemen. Good morning." (Tanya)
"Good morning, Major!" (Serebryakov)
While Weiss and the others remained frozen at the door, Lieutenant Serebryakov rushed up to Tanya's side and spoke to her.
"Major, your tail is showing! Is it okay, don't you usually hide it?" (Serebryakov)
"Ah, you noticed, Lieutenant? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Imperial mage uniforms were designed with devil's tails in mind, so I can't get it to fit right anymore. Unexpected, considering that General Staff Headquarters is full of them, but maybe only their uniforms get properly fit for tails." (Tanya)
Tanya wasn't entirely sure whether Serebryakov was actually convinced by this or just playing along, but she was glad for the help in lightening the mood.
"What are the rest of you standing around for? Didn't I tell you on our way to the Federation that I originally lost mine fighting against the Republic? Since a nice devil offered to help heal it, I accepted." (Tanya)
"Is that… so… No, actually, if Major was a demon from the start, a lot of what happened up until now starts to make much more sense. Don't you all think so as well?" (Weiss)
Captain Weiss caught on to where she was going with this, and started playing along.
Ah, having good subordinates really is great. Those two understand me well enough at this point to guess my intentions without needing to spell everything out, which really simplifies troublesome matters like this.
"When you put it that way, Captain, you're right. I'm convinced." (Neumann)
"No, no, are you really okay with this?" (Grantz)
"So that's how it is, gentlemen. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't seem like I'll be coming back with the rest of you. Captain Weiss, it looks like you're going to get that promotion to Major sooner than you thought, just need to get the confirmation from General Staff." (Tanya)
"Kazuma, Kazuma, the army girl grew a tail! Any way you look at it she's a demon, right? I'm sure this is the work of the undead and his minions, this is why I said we should have done something about them!" (Aqua)
"Aqua, are you seriously still trying to pick fights with them? And now not only Ainz's group, but you're even trying to pick on her just because she grew a tail? You really are getting out of control, berserk goddess." (Kazuma)
"But demons are evil beings! They're all servants of the Demon King, it's my responsibility as a Goddess to destroy them. You too, Kazuma, how are you supposed to defeat the Demon King if you're not fighting against demons?" (Aqua)
"Oho? Are you planning on fighting me, Satou Kazuma?" (Tanya)
Kazuma hit Aqua's head without hesitation and turned towards Tanya to give a salute.
"Not at all, Ma'am! I apologize!" (Kazuma)
Tanya nodded at his response then went back to talking to her men.
"Kazuma got trained so well in such a short time… Ah, I wish I could have gone through that kind of training as well, maybe if I begged she might still… But for a crusader to bow down and beg a demon, would be so wonderfully humiliating…" (Darkness)
The crusader's monologue was magnificently ignored.
"Kazuma, Kazuma, I want one of those too!" (Megumin)
"You want to get hit?" (Kazuma)
"Not that, her tail, I want one of those tails! It's only fitting for a Crimson Demon to have a demon's tail, but she beat me to getting one. Go find out where I can get one of those!" (Megumin)
"She's scary so I don't want to, go ask yourself, or send Darkness, she'd probably be fine even if she got shot." (Kazuma)
Kazuma seemed fully content with ignoring his party members' antics, as per usual. He sat down and put his head down on the desk, occasionally responding to Aqua and Megumin with, "Sure, sure."
"Looks like you've started getting along better than expeeeeected." (Roswaal)
"Roscchi-sensei, does that really count as getting along?" (Subaru)
"Well, if the person herself doesn't mind, it's fiiiiine. Violence is against the school rules, but there's no particular rule against becoming a deeevil." (Roswaal)
"Is that really how those rules are meant to be interpreted…" (Subaru)
"I believe there is no issue with such an interpretation, however. As we have previously been informed, any actions which would endanger our school life are strictly forbidden. Contrarily, any action which does not inhibit our ability to act as students is therefore permitted. Whether Tanya-dono remains a human or becomes a devil is therefore irrelevant to the school rules." (Demiurge)
"Does such convenient logic really pass?" (Subaru)
"I see no issue with it. Let us begin claaass." (Roswaal)
The rest of the day went by as per usual, with a distinct lack of any actual learning, as was the norm for this school. When they returned from lunch, however, the front of the room was decorated with a large 'Graduation' banner.
"What the hell? Even the world is this strange, isn't this too sudden? You had that whole foreshadowing about new transfer students and everything, I thought we were supposed to be safe for a while longer!" (Kazuma)
"Welllll, they were supposed to get here, but it turns out that one of them is rather adept at tearing apart dimensions, so they tried to escaaaape. We're still trying to catch them, but none of our teachers are specialists in thaaaat field. Since you fulfilled the graduation requirements, this event ended up happening before thaaaaat." (Roswaal)
"I understand, so it was that sort of thing." (Demiurge)
"What part of that explanation made sense to you?" (Kazuma)
"If you simply listen and put together everything we have been told up until now, it becomes quite simple. When that man, Roswaal-sensei, told us that we may be able to go home if we won the recent competition, he was not deceiving us. While you might have interpreted this as him playing on his usage of 'maybe', it is in fact much more accurate to conclude that the competition was meant to provide us a means to fulfill some condition required for graduation, which we failed to accomplish, and as such were unable to return at that time. Perhaps each event up until now was meant to provide us such an opportunity, but our inadvertent success means cancelling those other events and skipping straight to the end." (Demiurge)
"Oya? Well, that may be coreeect. Either way, your school life has come to a clooose." (Roswaal)
As he said this, Roswaal took out a remote with a single button, which he pressed. Immediately after, the world began to distort.
"This is way too suddennnnn!" (Kazuma)