Momonga's presence had not gone unnoticed in the city of E-Rantel. It had not been his intention, but it was unavoidable given how he carried himself. The citizens could not ignore him even if they tried.

His armor, black as night, was clearly high-end and very valuable. Most adventurers that worked out of E-Rantel could only afford a hodgepodge batch of gear, most of which was leather-based. Certainly not heavy metal armor that clanked with each footstep.

That alone was enough to draw attention to him, but it was more than that. His mere presence had a way of drawing eyes to him.

Even though Momonga repressed his passives as best he could, there was something he could not hide away.

His power.

Rather, his lethality.

Humans, in a world of monsters and dragons, had developed a sixth sense for power. Even if Momonga was not focusing his attention on them, the humans instinctively felt they were in the presence of something… big.

So attention naturally fell on him.

This caused a few humans to try to provoke him—reckless, arrogant, thrill-seekers that could not quite explain why he made them nervous—while others gave him a wide berth.

It made for an interesting first day in the city, not even counting his first encounter with the alchemists.

Momonga was keenly aware of the gazes that were tossed his way. How could he not be? He was self-conscious of his every move, continuously second-guessing himself. He was abashed by how he handled the alchemists earlier, and desperately did not want to make any further mistakes.

He did not want to begin to imagine how disappointed the Floor Guardians would be if they found out how much of a fumbling man Momonga truly was.

He would do his best, he really would, but he wasn't anywhere near as grandeur as they made him out to be.

When he was approached by a group of adventurers who suggested a team up he was wary.

While he knew he was drawing attention, he did not think he did anything worthy enough to cause people to actively seek him out.

Yet.

It.

Kept.

Happening.

Momonga did accept—with reluctance—because he wanted to learn more about how the average adventurer operated. The more information he had, the better off he would be. If Momonga ended up drawing too much negative attention to himself, he'd scrap the entire plan and wait to go adventuring with Lumière.

By then the spy network should have been operating long enough they would be able to pose as perfectly ordinary adventurers. They could explore the world together and take whatever quest caught their eye.

The group that had approached Momonga were all men who seemed young—very young. They were likely still teenagers—or at least under twenty—but it should be noted that they did not carry themselves like teenagers would in the modern world. There was a level of maturity to them that told Momonga that children in that world did not have the luxury of staying as children for long.

How young do adventurers typically start? Momonga wondered. Is it weird to join as someone older?

He certainly wasn't that young.

Then again that wasn't his backstory. He was supposed to be a warrior for years before moving to a new country to adventure there in the name of Silverlight.

The group of young men guided Momonga to a private room at the Adventurer's Guild so they could further discuss teaming up. They seated themselves seemingly at random and in a relaxed manner, but they could clearly draw their weapons at any time.

That spoke of experienced caution. How often were they suddenly attacked to warrant that habit?

Momonga briefly thought back to the aggressive adventurers he had encountered at the inn.

How often do adventurers attack their peers?

"Before we begin discussing the job, let us introduce ourselves," suggested a young man who looked like a warrior. He had the standard blond hair with blue eyes that Momonga had learned to acknowledge was something most Kingdom citizens had. It was a stark contrast to his home world, as most people there had dark hair and dark eyes.

Seeing so many people run around with blond hair was certainly a change, but not necessarily a bad one.

He didn't dislike the colors, although he thought they all felt muddier compared to his friend's avatar.

Maybe he was biased.

The warrior continued, "I'm the leader of the Swords of Darkness, Peter Mauk. That fellow over there is the eyes and ears of our team, our ranger Lukrut Volve."

A leather-armored blond man nodded in acknowledgment, and his brown eyes seemed to have a spark of delight in them. He was slender and long-limbed, kind of like a spider, but his lean torso was wiry and muscular.

"Next is our magic caster and the brains of our group, Ninya, The Spellcaster."

"Pleased to meet you."

He was probably the youngest person in the group, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. His doe-like eyes and freckled face made him look especially young. When he smiled, he seemed more like a child than a teenager.

While the others all wore armor, he wore a robe. Momonga could see that beneath the table he had various strange items in his belt, including oddly-shaped bottles and peculiar wooden objects.

Judging from the term "spellcaster," he was probably a magic caster of the arcane variety, like Momonga.

Although the boy smiled politely at Momonga, he grimaced shortly after. "Peter, can you not use that embarrassing nickname?"

"Eh? But it's a good one."

"You have a nickname?" Momonga asked.

Lukrut explained, "He's a talent holder, and a genius magic caster."

"Oh…" Momonga murmured. Jack had tortured and reaped members of the Sunlight Scripture to obtain a variety of information. One of the highlights the lich had brought to their attention was the introduction of talents.

Unfortunately, none of the surviving Sunlight Scripture members had talents. One did, but they were turned to ash upon their second revival after Jack had tortured them. What remained of them had been turned over to Demiurge.

The demon had enthusiastically suggested experiments. Momonga was morbidly curious about the results and gave the demon permission to follow through. Some of it Momonga knew the demon would only do for sadistic pleasure, but Momonga did not really care. Momonga prioritized those of Nazarick over everyone else, human or not.

Momonga was cautiously delighted to encounter another human with a "talent."

"It's nothing much, it's just that I happened to have a talent pertaining to that field."

"Oh?" Momonga was even more interested. He leaned forward, struggling to keep the eagerness out of his voice.

Much like martial arts, talents were abilities that did not exist in YGGDRASIL. They were unique to that new world. About one in every two hundred people was born with a talent. While talent-holders were not rare, the abilities themselves varied greatly in potency and type.

For instance, there were talents like being able to predict tomorrow's weather with seventy percent accuracy; the ability to strengthen summoned monsters; hastening the harvest by several days; using the magic of the dragons which once ruled this world, and so on. All of these were inborn abilities which could not be chosen or changed.

It was sadly common for most talents to go unnoticed or unused. If someone was born with a talent that could improve the destructive power of their magic, but they never had the chance to become a magic caster, then their talent would be useless.

It should be noted that it wasn't a necessity to have a talent to progress far in life. The best proof of that statement was Gazef Stronoff, who was a warrior without a talent.

People with combat-applicable talents tended to go into the adventuring profession. Therefore, talent-holders were a common sight among adventurers. The person before Momonga and CZ was one of those lucky few who could fully utilize his talent.

Peter Mauk, their leader, casually said, "I think his talent had something to do with being suited to studying magic, and he only took four years to learn what should have taken eight years. I'm not a magic caster, so I'm not sure how great that is."

Momonga was a magic caster as well. Those words made him even more curious, and tickled the collector's desire within him. It was an ability that the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick did not possess, and which could strengthen the organization. If he could gain control of that ability, it might be worth making enemies of everyone there.

Shrinking the time it took to learn an ability like this should have been the province of a Super tier spell, [Wish Upon A Star].

And if he found a way to apply talents externally and thus could have his subordinates learn twice as fast…?

Momonga thought of Lumière and her learning the new world's language.

Could it be used for things outside of learning spells…?

The two of them continued talking, without realizing that Momonga was watching them under his helmet, like a tiger ready to pounce on its prey.

Ninya continued quietly, "I'm really lucky that I was born with this ability because it allowed me to take a step closer to my dream. Without this power, I would have ended my days as a lowly peasant."

Peter continued in a chipper tone: "Well, no matter what, you're still a famous talent-holder in this city."

The boy was abashed. He fiddled with his robes. "Still, there's people more famous than me."

"The leader of Blue Rose?"

Ninya shook his head. "She's famous too, but I was talking about someone within this city."

"You mean, Bareare?" loudly asked the last person, who had not yet been introduced yet.

Momonga would have frowned if he had the lips. Bareare? Wasn't that the name of the alchemist? No, surely not. How unlucky would Momonga have to be to have fumbled through a premature introduction to a famous talent holder?

Momonga probed, "And what sort of talent does that person have?"

A look of surprise came over all four of them. It would seem this was common knowledge.

Uh oh.

However, before Momonga could try to explain, the other side came to a conclusion of their own:

"I see, the reason why we don't know you at all despite that pristine full plate and your beautiful companion is because you're not from around here, am I right?"

Momonga nodded. That was their back story, after all. They had not yet decided which country should be their "origin" country, but that would be settled on at a later date when they had more information.

"Indeed, that is correct. The truth is, we only arrived here yesterday," Momonga answered.

"Oh, so you wouldn't know. He's a famous person in this town, but he's probably not so famous that distant cities would know about him, huh?"

"Yes, I've never heard of him before. If you don't mind, could you tell me about him?"

"His name is Nfirea Bareare, the grandson of a famous alchemist."

Momonga almost reacted. The panic and alarm that shot through him was so intense his passive had to immediately calm him back down.

That kid was someone so famous?!

Peter continued, "His talent allows him to use any magic item. Not only can he use scrolls of a different spellcasting system from himself, he can use items made by the non-human races. Even items restricted to those of royal blood shouldn't be a problem either."

"Oh."

Momonga tried his best not to let them hear the awe in his voice.

How much could his talent do? Could he use the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown—which only the guildmaster could use—as well as World Class Items? Or did it have limits?

He was someone that Momonga did not want to have as an enemy. Better allied, or dead, but definitely not an enemy.

He made a mental note to have the alchemist closely monitored.

CZ shifted her weight slightly in her seat. The maid had done a very good job at remaining impassive, but even she could not resist reacting to that information. CZ was not one to speak out of turn, however, so she remained quiet.

Ahh! What a good subordinate! Momonga could not help but praise her composure. If Albedo was there, Momonga worried she'd have already said something rude to the humans or been unnecessarily praising of Momonga.

CZ was quiet, stoic, and obedient.

Perhaps not the most fun of companions, but given how dangerous their situation was, she was a good choice.

Although Momonga could not help but wistfully wish that some of his friends were there.

Touch Me was naturally charismatic so he probably would have already become fast friends with many adventurers. Herohero and Peroroncino were Momonga's favorite jokesters and he knew if they were with him he would have already laughed several times throughout the day.

He was certain Ulbert would have immediately sought out the most evil kingdom and try to take it over. The demon had a penchant for conquest games and loved to role play the villain. He always got very into his role when he acted as DM—Dungeon Master—in campaigns.

Momonga had DM'd twice in his entire time at Ainz Ooal Gown, and all of his villains were created by Ulbert, Tabula, and Ancient for Momonga to use. DM'ing was simultaneously the most stressful, and the most fun Momonga had with their RP'ing sessions. The rest of the time he—like many others—preferred to watch and make the occasional remark.

His friends would have probably liked this new world…

The pang in his chest was not so great his passive activated, which Momonga thought was a shame.

He didn't like missing them so much.

Wanting to push the conversation further—and pull his thoughts out of melancholy—Momonga asked, "could you tell me about your last friend?"

"Yes. He's a druid—Dyne Woodwonder. He uses healing spells and magic that controls nature, and he's well versed in herbal lore. Let him know if there's anything wrong with your body; he has medicine that's good for stomach pains."

Druid, huh?

A lot of his guildmates nearly re-rolled for a druid class because of their versatility. Bukubukuchagama was the closest to the re-roll when she realized druids were part of the spores, or primeval and could shapeshift into slimes (her favorite monster). The only thing that stopped her was her severe disdain for grinding and the fact that she didn't want to re-level all alone.

It was a shame YGGDRASIL did not allow players more than one character per account. Momonga was certain if the game did, a good chunk of the guildmates would have re-rolled for druids and made a druid-exclusive guild.

Momonga would have likely been peer-pressured to follow and while he liked the class fine and dandy, he was very happy with his character.

Still, it did make him inwardly smile that there were druids in that world. He wondered if the druid circles in that world would be similar to YGGDRASIL, or something completely different?

"Pleased to meet you!" came the greeting from the burly, barbaric-looking man with a full, bushy beard. In spite of the beard he had a youthful face and came across as very young.

There was a faint smell of grass from him, which came from the cloth pouch tied to his waist.

Momonga inclined his head. "Then, it's time for us to introduce ourselves. She is Artemis, I am Erebus. Pleased to meet you."

Momonga had chosen their names from Greek mythology, one of his favorite mythologies.

He was being cautious. They had no way of knowing what would await them, and as long as he was not revealing the existence of Ainz Ooal Gown, he had to make sure the name "Momonga" and anything else tied to the guild stayed hidden as well.

He also wanted to distance this identity to what the Warrior-Captain, Gazef, knew. Momonga and Lumière had used their real names when assisting the village, and undoubtedly the Warrior-Captain would report them to his king.

Momonga knew that "Erebus" would eventually be tied back to Lumière since he planned to use the Silverlight faction as part of his back story, but that should be some time away. Momonga had no plans on meeting the Warrior-Captain as "Erebus" any time soon. Furthermore, he had no intentions of ever letting anyone outside Nazarick know he was Momonga and "Erebus." It was always good to have a backup identity for infiltration.

And when Lumière was ready to adventure with him, he'd make a third one just for her.

I wonder what she'll want to go as?

A question for another day. Momonga had to finish greeting the adventurers.

At Momonga's subtle nod to her, CZ politely added, "Pleased to meet you."

"Wonderful, I hope we'll get along. Then, Mr. Erebus, please address me by my first name." Peter shifted his weight in his seat. "Although it feels wrong to get to business so abruptly, we should probably start discussing the job. The truth is this job isn't much work."

"And that job is…?"

"This job is to hunt the monsters that appear around the town."

Clearing out monsters, huh…?

That was enough to count as work. Or was there some special adventurer reason which made him say that it did not qualify? Momonga wanted to ask for more information, but if this was common knowledge, asking that question might seem strange. Instead he asked, "What sorts of monsters will we be exterminating?"

"Ah, the job isn't for exterminating specific monsters. After hunting monsters, the city council will pay us a reward based on their strength.

So that was it.

Momonga understood. When Peter said that this did not qualify as work, in YGGDRASIL terms, it was more like farming items off monster spawns rather than questing.

Interesting. Do monsters drop items when killed, or do they only leave behind a corpse we'll need to gut and clean…?

"This is something we have to do to make a living," said the druid—Dyne Woodwonder—in his deep baritone.

Following that, Lukrut spoke up as well. "For us, it's making a living, but what we do also reduces the danger to the surrounding people. The traders can come and go in peace and the country can collect its taxes. Not bad, huh?"

"Nowadays, most countries with guilds do this, but five years ago, this sort of thing was nonexistent. It's pretty revolutionary," said Ninya. The team nodded in agreement to the child's words.

They chatted amongst themselves, leaving no openings for Momonga to cut in. Also, it would be odd to know absolutely nothing about this country, so Momonga kept quiet and listened to what they said.

"It's all thanks to the Golden Princess, long may she live."

"She proposed a policy that would waive taxes on adventurers, although it never got passed."

"Oh, to think she paid so much attention to adventurers."

"Indeed. Some rulers would treat armed organizations who were part of the country's military as enemies. Even the Empire isn't so generous."

"That princess sure is brilliant, coming out with all these great proposals… although almost all of them were shot down."

"I want to marry a beautiful girl like that~"

"Then, shouldn't you work on getting ennobled?"

"Ah—no way, no way, I couldn't live a stifled life like that."

Ninya sneered. "I think being a noble wouldn't be bad. After all, the Kingdom pretty much allows a noble to trample the peasants and do as they please."

Lukrut replied in a jovial tone: "Uwah~ that tongue of yours is still so vicious. You really hate nobles, don't you?"

"I know that some nobles are honorable, but my big sister was taken away by that pig. How could I not hate nobles?"

Dyne cleared his throat. "...We're getting sidetracked here! We shouldn't be talking about this sort of thing in front of our comrades, Mr. Erebus and Miss Artemis."

Peter said, "We'll be hunting monsters in the forest bordering the Slane Theocracy. The only creatures who can hit the back line are goblins with magic items that grant flight."

"However, we won't get much for killing such weak monsters."

Momonga was wary of the group's easygoing attitude.

From what Momonga knew, there were many kinds of named goblins in YGGDRASIL, and their levels ranged from one to fifty. Since individual Goblins could vary widely in power, one could not lump the goblins into one big group. A moment's carelessness could lead to dire consequences.

Did their relaxed attitudes mean that they were confident of not encountering high-level Goblins, or did it mean that their world's goblins were simply that weak?

Momonga wearily asked, "What if a powerful goblin shows up?"

Peter shook his head. "It's extremely unlikely. Powerful goblins are tribal leaders. They won't mobilize their entire tribes just for us. The goblins know about humanity's area of influence, so they're fully aware of the retaliation that'll be headed that way if they launch a large-scale attack. It's especially true when it comes to the stronger goblins, since they tend to be the higher-ranked and more intelligent members of their species."

"I see," was all Momonga said in response.

"So? Want to join us?" Peter asked.

Momonga paused for a moment as he considered it. "Mn. Then, I'll be in your care. Also, since we're working together, I guess I should let everyone see my true face."

With that, Momonga removed his helmet. The four people before him seemed surprised by what they saw.

Peter was the first to speak. "I've heard that in the south, people like Mr. Erebus are commonplace… did you come from that region?"

Momonga did not feel comfortable committing to any one region for their back story yet so he simply said, "We have traveled from a faraway land."

Peter nodded, smiling. "Glad to have met you then."

Momonga curtly nodded in return as he put the helmet back on. He was pleased his illusion worked flawlessly. "I'll be covering my face up after showing it to you. There might be trouble if other people know I'm a foreigner." Momonga gestured to them. "Since we'll be hunting together, it would probably be good to get questions out of the way. Do you have anything to ask me?"

"Me!"

A hand shot up toward the ceiling after Momonga asked his question. That hand belonged to Lukrut.

After making sure that nobody else was asking a question other than himself, Lukrut cheerfully asked CZ, "What kind of relationship do you two have?"

The room was filled with silence.

Momonga had no idea what Lukrut meant by that question. However, Peter and his team had picked up on Lukrut's intentions straight away.

Were they suspicious of their relationship? Why? In what way? Momonga did not think he did anything strange to warrant such a question.

He slowly answered, "We are companions."

After Momonga's answer, Lukrut's next few words threw the room into an uproar.

Lukrut turned to CZ and declared, "I've fallen for you! It's love at first sight! Please go out with me!"

Everyone turned to look at Lukrut. After realizing that Lukrut's words were not a joke to deepen their friendship, Momonga shifted his gaze to CZ. CZ did not react at all, her expression stoic and unbothered. She ignored him entirely.

The silence in that room stretched into uncomfortable awkwardness as CZ continued to blatantly ignore Lukrut.

Momonga coughed. "Artemis. He is waiting for your response."

CZ blinked slowly. She turned her head to Lukrut and quietly said, "No."

Lukrut did not miss a beat and beamed, "Thank you for the firm rejection! Then, let's start as friends."

CZ did not respond.

Her silence was good before, but she needs to learn to react when people are directly addressing her…

Momonga wanted to sigh.

He was glad to have some adventurers to study and learn from, but why did he get the feeling things weren't going to be easy for him…?

And unfortunately he was right.

Before Momonga and CZ could depart E-Rantel with the Swords of Darkness, Momonga was requested by name by none other than Nfirea.

The very same alchemist Momonga had practically fled from, and who had a potentially very dangerous talent.

Ugh.

⁽ˇ́˙̫ˇ̀˵⁾

Lumière took a sip of her warm drink. It was bitter-sweet and creamy. She wasn't sure what it was, and didn't care enough to ask. The chefs of Nazarick consistently served her delicious food and drinks and she loved being pleasantly surprised by something new.

The maids serving her that day had the food and drinks stacked on a cute wooden cart. They used elaborately detailed silverware, plates, and cups. Lumière was half-certain the tea cup she was drinking out of was made from some kind of precious crystal or gem because of how it glistened in the light of the library. It wouldn't surprise her if it was expensive enough to outright buy a house in their old world.

When she set her drink back down, a maid, Foire—a pretty young woman with yellowish bobbed hair and green eyes—dutifully refilled her cup.

Three homunculus maids were assigned to her every day. Lumière was happy she had all of their names memorized because each time she addressed them by name they reacted with pure joy.

On that morning Jack was absent, so only the maids attended to her. He mentioned something about a rare chance to study a few Miko Princesses without risk and couldn't afford to miss it. Jack insisted on handling important missions personally, not wanting to risk his summoned minions botching them.

There was a knock at the library door.

"Come in," Lumière said without looking up from the paperwork on her coffee table. The angel lounged on a comfortable couch as she reviewed what she had accomplished so far in her translation studies.

Aura and Mare entered. Aura was relaxed, her arms hooked around the back of her head as she grinned at Lumière. Mare was visibly shy, demurely looking down as he shuffled behind Aura.

"Good morning," Lumière greeted happily.

Aura and Mare politely bowed as they said, "Good morning, our lady."

Aura straightened up first. "I've tagged all adult owls that are healthy enough to survive the transformation. There's three hundred and ninety-four in total."

"I-I've finished c-creating the sanctuary f-for them," Mare stammered out.

All that's left then is for me to have enough grasp of the new world's language I can imprint the knowledge onto the sentries.

If she passed that knowledge onto the sentries, then whoever used the sentries would be able to understand whatever was in view.

Lumière beamed in delight, her smile like the dawn after a dreary night. "Well done! Ah, have you two had breakfast yet?"

"No, not yet," said Aura.

Lumière patted the spots on either side of her on the couch. She unfurled her wings. "Would you two like to join me?"

"Yes!" Aura said enthusiastically, her eyes bright as she hurried to take a seat beside Lumière.

"W-Wah! Me too!" Mare exclaimed, stumbling in his excitement to sit beside the angel.

To Lumière's delighted surprise, both of the dark elves sat so close to the angel they were practically cuddled into her sides. Not used to their contact, it sent a shiver down her spine. She resisted the urge to shyly fidget or abruptly move away.

Still, she was happy. Elated, really. If Aura and Mare felt comfortable enough with her to hug her, then surely it was okay for her to do the same?

She folded her wings around them, gently pushing them into her.

"Eat whatever you'd like," she encouraged.

Aura had no issues whatsoever complying with that, whereas Mare was much more reserved in taking the offered food.

Lumière wasn't able to spend much time focusing on them, unfortunately, because she was intent on studying. Thankfully the twins did not seem to mind, both simply happy to be cuddled under the angel's soft wings and eating good food. Once done eating, one of the maids took the food out, and Mare let out a big yawn.

"You can both stay here as long as you want," Lumière said quietly, her gaze briefly tearing away from her noun list to look at them.

"Really?" Mare asked.

"If you're sure—"

"You both are always welcomed here," Lumière insisted. How could she say otherwise to her best friend's beloved creations? She turned to each of them and brushed their bangs out of their faces. "I hope you can both feel comfortable with me."

"We love you," said Aura, "How could we not?"

Lumière's wings fluttered as a huge goofy grin stretched over her face. She tried to reign it in, to not overreact, but the pure giddy happiness that erupted in her made that impossible. Overcome by her emotions, she pulled them both into her arms and hugged them tightly.

"I love you both too," she said. And she did. As much as she adored Bukubukuchagama she loved her dark elves. Lumière saw Mare and Aura as Bukubukuchagama's precious children and it was her duty to watch over them in her best friend's place.

Ah~ if only Bukubukuchagama could have come with us… if only…

Lumière could imagine that many of their guildmates would have been happy to come with them if they had known prior that their game would become a reality.

She was grateful that at least Momonga was with her.

WIth Mare and Aura snuggled firmly into her side and under her wings, Lumière went back to studying. She was relentless, not pausing until more food was rolled into signal it was time for lunch.

And on that day she was joined by one more.

Cocytus was the Floor Guardian of the 5th floor in the Great Tomb of Nazarick. His race was that of vermin lord, and a weapons master with skills placed in the Sword Saint and Knight of Niflheim. Cocytus was tall—2.5 meters—and some would even call him intimidating.

A human might tremble in fear at his stature, and how he emanated freezing air.

To the angel however, he was simply another creation by one of her friends. Cocytus was created by Warrior Takemikazuchi, a nephilim samurai.

"Hello Cocytus," said Lumière when he came in.

Cocytus took a knee in reverence. "GOOD DAY, MY LADY."

"Please be at ease and come sit. I was hoping you would join m—er—us for lunch," Lumière said, recalling Aura and Mare were with her. The dark elves had fallen asleep while cuddling with Lumière, and upon Cocytus's arrival they groggily woke up.

"I WOULD BE HONORED."

A chair had been prepared for Cocytus as the maids moved the papers out of the way and replaced them with food. Lumière moved her wings to give Aura and Mare more room to eat with them.

Lumière was making it a point to get acquainted with all members of Nazarick. She didn't have the social stamina to meet with everyone right away, so she was doing it slowly and at her own pace. For that day she would take lunch with Cocytus, and then tomorrow she would have breakfast with Albedo. After that she would meet with either Rubedo, Aureole, or Demiurge depending on who was available.

Day by day she hoped to get more acquainted with the creations of her friends.

"Hi Cocytus," Aura cheerfully greeted. "Mare, say hi!"

"Hello," Mare bobbed his head as he greeted the warrior.

"HELLO." Cocytus took his seat.

"Thank you for joining us," said Lumière. "I want this to be casual, so please be at ease." Her wings fluttered. "Cocytus, you were created by Takemikazuchi weren't you?

She knew the answer to that already, but she thought Cocytus might want to learn more about Takemikazuchi.

"YES."

The angel tucked a strand of her long pale blonde hair behind her ear. "Did you know that I was the one who recruited Takemikazuchi?"

Cocytus did not have a face to express surprise, but by the way he shifted his body back slightly, Lumière could tell he was. "I DID NOT."

"Yes. Takemikazuchi was something of a lone wolf at first. He was an exceptionally talented warrior and worked with many other guilds and teams. He had a lot of respect in our community because of his walk—er—guides."

"GUIDES?" Cocytus echoed.

"Takemikazuchi used his talent and experience to put together helpful guides for weaker… warriors," Lumière said carefully. She was thankful she did not accidentally use the word players, not certain how aware the NPCs were of what exactly YGGDRASIL was. "He wanted to give them a chance to become strong. In fact, that was how I met him."

Lumière smiled at the memory.

"He had heard that certain warriors were picking on young ones that had only started their journey. He started to linger around the lower level z—areas to protect them. Bukubukuchagama and I coincidentally went back to those areas to farm materials for our jobs. When we met, he thought we were weak warriors in need of help!"

At the mention of Bukubukuchagama, Aura and Mare's eyes widened.

Lumière giggled at the memory. Takemikazuchi had spotted Bukubukuchagama and Lumière messing around in the lower levels. With how they behaved, he mistook them for newbies and started to lecture them. It was in good nature, so the slime and angel had gone along with it. They pretended to be completely new and asked a cascade of questions that Takemikazuchi was happy to answer.

He eventually added them as friends and when he did so he finally looked at their profiles and realized they were in fact not newbies at all. Takemikazuchi was thoroughly embarrassed but Lumière and Bukubukuchagama praised his kind nature and gushed over his guidance.

Lumière continued the story, "He was adorably flustered when he realized the truth. We liked his kind nature though, and invited him to quest with us. He was such a loner however it took a lot of persistent asking on our end. One question together turned into two and eventually he started to invite us instead. When Touch Me told me about forming the guild, I knew Takemikazuchi would fit in perfectly so I invited him." She giggled again. "He refused. He wanted to remain neutral to the other guilds. So I challenged him to a duel and said if he could defeat me I wouldn't ask again, but if he couldn't he had to join."

The angel's smile was soft. "He accepted. I won. He had to join."

Of course, it wasn't a traditional victory. She didn't get his HP to zero but rather she just couldn't be killed. For over two hours he tried to kill her—and nearly succeeded a dozen times—but she was always able to keep alive. The duel dragged on until he had to log off to go to work but the only way out of the duel was by forfeiting since he couldn't kill her.

Oh he was fuming! But he was a man of his word and agreed to join Ainz Ooal Gown when he logged back in.

A good thing too. He met his future wife through Luci Fer, another member of the guild. He had to quit the game when she gave birth to their second set of twins. Thankfully her family was very well off but neither wanted to hire a nanny so he quit the game to help raise them with her.

He always planned to come back when the kids were old enough to wipe their own butt. Unfortunately, he never had the chance.

"Takemikazuchi is one of the most honorable warriors I know," Lumière said. "I'm glad you take after him."

Cocytus was silent, humbled and elated to hear the praise for his creator and himself. "I AM HONORED BY YOUR PRAISE. I DO NOT KNOW IF I AM WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE LIKENED BY WARRIOR TAKEMIKAZUCHI BUT I WILL DO MY BEST."

"You already are," she said sweetly.

"Do you have more stories?" Aura asked. "Maybe with Bukubukuchagama too?"

"I have many," she said. "You see, many years ago Bukubukuchagama and I invited Takemikazuchi to quest with us in a new zone. While there we stumbled upon a den of—"

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Get to see why this arc is called "divergence" next chapter. :p

Birthday update. :d New chapter for Black Butler, Overlord, and complete one-shot for Bungou Stray Dogs.

Answer: Crusch Lulu. She's so adorable.

Question: If you were an NPC, who would you want to be your creator?

Reviews are love!