With the immense assistance of Omniscience, it took mere minutes to locate the spell in the library, memorize its contents, and completely learn it inside and out. Casting the spell wasn't the problem in the first place, the main concern was the possibly staggering amounts of magicules required to age an ancient being such as Ramiris. Even Milim testified to her age, and a quick inspection of human legends gathered by Demiurge verified this as well.
Her current power level was minuscule, but it wouldn't be the case as she aged, as for while each year she gained more and more magical power, more and more magicules would be needed. With that in mind, he called in his friends to assist if needed, wanting permission to borrow their magicule reserves.
With Buku already present and waiting, the remaining two teleported into Momonga's office mere moments later. After hearing the plan, Pero was the first to speak.
"So we're letting her join Nazarick? Are we voting right away?"
"She isn't joining as a guild member, but as a servant. There's a difference between Veldora, who shares his last name with us and is involved in our affairs, and her who has been a freeloading guest eating away at our food stores," Buku replied before the pixie got any ideas, shoving a cookie her way to shut her up.
"W-what?! You must be joking. You'll make a Demon Lord like me a servant?!" Ramiris puffed her cheeks in response and then glanced at Momo with a pleading expression. "I'm joining the guild, right?"
"You'll have to prove yourself first. I don't see how I could put you above the floor guardians right now, given your proven worth."
"But I'm a Demon Lord," Ramiris mumbled, taking a bite from her cookie. She then glanced up, crossed her arms, and smugly asked. "And what if I refuse?"
"Then nothing changes and we treat you like a guest, even if Hinata reaches the Tempest's capital and kills all nonhumans in her path to Veldora. I suggest you retreat into your labyrinth in that case." Momonga called her bluff, staring right back.
"Y-you would leave me behind?" Ramiris swung around to her caretaker, "Buku, you promised to protect me!"
"Hinata isn't after you but us. If you don't want to join on our terms, then you're free to flee and live somewhere safer," Buku replied flatly, eyes glowing with power.
"But why servant? So what if Veldora shares the last name with you all? What else does he have that I don't?" She pointed at the dragon, giving him a glare that he ignored. The dragon chose to drink some heavily sweetened tea instead.
"Ramiris, you are misunderstanding the offer. We are not asking to join as a low-tier servant, but as one of the elite of the elite. If you can help me reorganize Nazarick, then your position would be at least that of an area guardian, if not possibly higher. Make your decision now. I don't have time for long, pointless arguing," Momonga stated, mentally preparing to reach into the depths of Nazarick.
Forcing someone to decide on the spot was one of the oldest tricks in the book. And considering how eager Ramiris was to join, there was no doubt in Momonga's mind she would agree to join as a servant. Buku didn't doubt it either, and Veldora had no qualms about Ramiris officially joining as his underling since it would change basically nothing for him.
"Fine! I agree to join as a servant! Happy now?" She puffed her cheeks and glared at the undead, who only mirthfully chuckled in response.
"That attitude has to go. Especially towards us." Buku dropped her voice a few tones lower, sounding as menacing as ever.
"Yeah, you are kinda cocky for a little squirt," Veldora, who was bored and silently sitting nearby, joined in.
Seeing that she was utterly defeated and that there wouldn't be any voices of support if she continued to act up, Ramiris finally relented and flew closer to Momonga. The skeleton responded by offering up a comfortable doll-sized chair from his inventory and placing it on his shoulder pauldron, much to the delight of the fairy. Buku only chuckled in response.
"I'll stop. I promise. You can start. Just go slow ok? I don't know exactly what will happen if you accelerate my growth since this is otherworldly magic and all."
"I will rely on your feedback." Momonga nodded, feeling the well of his accessible magical energy massively expanding as he connected the aging spell to the staggeringly massive magicule stores of himself, Nazarick, and his friends.
The first order of business was to switch Ramiris' status from Friend of Nazarick to Servant of Nazarick, which she graciously accepted without any additional arguments. She did bite extra hard on a chocolate chip though.
"Be ready to help me with the ritual if I require assistance," Momonga spoke and stretched his arm towards Ramiris, who landed on the table and sat down.
'This better be worth it. I feel it'll take a lot to even age her to what would be a teenager for a human equivalent, and I haven't even truly started yet.' Momonga exhaled and started.
Noticing the rapid increase of magicules in the air, Buku constructed a fairly strong shield around the room just in case. Veldora chipped in a bit, always looking for ways to curry favor with the person who controlled his milkshake supply.
At first, the amount of energy required wasn't that bad, as it only drained a few percentages of his own stores. Ramiris began to visibly increase in size, gaining centimeters within seconds. She even stood up for a moment, but quickly fell to her knees, face in pain and muscles twitching.
"Slow it down! Too many memories are coming back! My head will explode!" she shouted, growing bigger by the second, now about half a meter tall.
The swirling energies surrounding her started to give visible flashes, 'My energies are getting low. I must, contain…' Momonga fought against a ritual that threatened to go out of control, yanking away his magical energy by the dozens of percents. "Buku, absorb the loose energies! Pero, Veldora, help me! Ramiris, hold on! This won't be pleasant but we're reaching the halfway point!"
"Stop it! It hurts! I can't handle that much!" Ramiris cried out.
"Hold on, I am trying to slow it down!" Mononga roared with his full authority, demanding obedience. "Channel your energies now!"
All three immediately jumped into action.
'Damn, when he has his shit together, you can't help but follow his orders.' Pero mused in amusement at even Veldora being startled, enough so he didn't question putting his all into the rampaging ritual.
With the help of his friends, the ritual was back under their control and the once pixie-sized demon lord was nearly a meter tall. It seemed by her letting go of her head and standing up with gritted teeth, Ramiris was becoming better at dealing with the rapid physiological and psychological changes brought upon herself.
Now tapping into Nazarick's reserves on top of acting as a conduit for said energies his friend provided, Momonga performed the final push and cut off the ritual, panting as if he had lungs. He felt completely drained and wanted to take a nap, but his emotional suppression kicked in and restored him to a prime mental state.
Buku had constructed a dozen more barriers as she still worked to contain the rampaging magicules, Veldora chipping in by not only assisting Momonga in the ritual but also empowering Buku in her work, and Pero was staggering around the room like a zombie trying to memorize the rapidly-fading traces of Ramiris's unique magic.
Ramiris continued to grow in a moment, standing just barely above a meter tall by the end. She sharply exhaled, hollered a scream that would make a banshee proud, and stretched with a groan.
"That was horrible. But I suppose this is what I get for a century's worth of growth in a few minutes. If you manage to slow down my aging when I reach adulthood, I will be most grateful. I would not want to repeat this every century or so," Ramiris spoke, her tone more refined and mature.
Her mannerisms had changed as well. Instead of flying up in the air as she normally did, she jumped down from the table and took a seat next to Buku.
A quick appraisal by every guild member in the room gave a clear picture of how much her power had grown. Before she was barely B level, compared to now being on the upper end of S rank - or level eighty-five if measured in comparison to Nazarick natives. She could hold her own and back up her word now, to say the least.
'She didn't lie at all. When fully grown she will be at least on floor guardian level, if not surpassing it.' Momonga observed the young-looking Demon Lord, who was crunching on a cookie.
Ramiris' physical appearance was still that of a girl in her mid-teens, and her clothing was still the same, which according to her could be changed with a single thought. They were both, of course, far larger, and the only real change was her clothing having slightly more intricate details around the hems.
"How are you feeling?" Momonga asked, more out of curiosity than concern. Ramiris already seemed fine, but there was a hint she was distracting herself with the cookie, likely from being completely overwhelmed by the accelerated growth.
"Give me a minute boss, memories are still flooding in," Ramiris replied, exhausted.
"Take your time. Here, I got you something," Buku announced as a maid rushed into Momonga's quarters, holding a platter with a pile of cookies and a large mug of deliciously smelling cocoa, beelining straight to Ramiris.
The pixie perked up at the sight of the treat and eagerly grabbed the hot mug taking big gulps and downing it in one go, ignoring the heat and perking at its sweetness. She placed down the mug and exclaimed with a hiccup, "That was just what I needed. Thanks, Buku."
"You're welcome. But from now on, remember that I am your superior as well."
"Sure thing," Ramiris saluted. "I think it finally ended. Whoo boy, that sucked. I am not repeating that too soon. Although it would have the benefits of being an adult."
"Let's start with the most pressing question," Momonga addressed Ramiris, "Did you regain any information concerning how your skill works?"
Ramiris seemed to be lost for a while, even stopping her cookie gluttony for a few moments. She stared at Momonga, seemingly unsure how to answer the question of her new superior, and spoke slowly.
"Partly. I have a better understanding of how my skill works, but it likely won't help you. The reason why nothing stays permanent when you try to change Nazarick is that you're not utilizing primal creation energy to stabilize your visualization. I can't explain the process itself, but I can show you how I do it if you give me access to Nazarick layout controls."
'Hmm, it is certainly a risk to let her do it without me knowing how she changes the layout of the tomb, but I doubt she's even capable of betrayal now.'
Omniscience decided to not be fully cooperative on the matter, but what was rather clear was that anyone fully connected to Nazarick, both servant and thrall, would consider the idea of betraying the owner of the skill absurd and blasphemous. Sure, some minor risk was there since betrayal was a vague term, but caution shouldn't be exercised to the detriment of either Tempest or Nazarick.
Granting her access to the tomb's layout and the sub-skill that let her change it wasn't that hard, especially compared to the ritual he had just performed. With the UI layout in place, all Momonga had to do was assign the specific access privilege to Ramiris.
Still just to be on the safe side, he left himself as the one who would need to give the final approval before changes could take place. He would see what she proposed and would be the one to supply the magicule energy if he approved, although the 'primal creation energy' would have to come from Ramiris.
Within the blink of an eye, the newest servant had gotten her tasks and a title; Architect of Nazarick.
"It's done. Try adding an extra room to my quarters," Momonga stated once the process was complete.
"Got it, chief." Ramiris saluted and got to work, delving into the Skill with gusto. He could see her travel down the chains of Nazarick, empowered by the unusual energy, as she got to work.
Not even a minute later Momonga received a notification, with a clear three-dimensional map of a simple five-meter room with identical style furnishings to his office appearing within his mind's eye. It had even been named, "TestingMomonga' ," much to his amusement.
'So the door should appear at that wall if I confirm her work.' The crafty pixie, if she could even be called that now, had pushed the neighboring quarters further away and added a room without massively disturbing the layout of the floor.
Momonga still could not grasp how she did it, but it likely was due to him not properly understanding the energies she worked with. It would be something for another time when the times weren't as stressful as they were now and he had the mentality to push Omniscience to its peak again.
Seeing no problems with the changes, Momonga accepted the work Ramiris had done, and a door appeared just where it was supposed to seconds later.
He stood up and walked up to the newest addition to the tomb for a more thorough examination, scanning the room and doorway for any abnormalities.
The rest followed suit, standing up and walking up to the door with the exception of Ramiris who still preferred flying. Now, her much larger wings produced a noticeable breeze and audible buzz as she flew about a half meter above the floor, something the maids accounted for by placing weights upon loose items. One even ran off to notify Sebas.
Momonga was about to grab the handle of the door, but as many times before, a homunculus maid charged from her position and opened the door for him. There was no helping it, the maids wanted to be useful.
Not paying too much mind to his servants' eager actions, Momonga stepped inside the room and traced a wall's surface. By all means it felt no different than the rest of the tomb, physical or magical.
"It seems there is nothing out of order. Good job," Momonga declared, noticing the ever-worrisome sign of Veldora getting excited.
'He has ideas of his own. I'll have to be careful when reviewing the changes Ramiris proposes to modify the tomb.'
"Hey Chief, I can rearrange my living space and make extra space for the top-secret lab, right?" Veldora asked, knocking on the wall.
"Just don't go overboard," Momonga replied, knowing there was no point arguing with the dragon, only regulation.
Veldora had been very active in the research department, so he likely would know what was needed, and there was little need to worry about what additions he wanted to his quarters. He had complained that he was running out of space for his private manga collection, and just piling the reading material on the floor aggravated both his private assistant Rima and the maids who were assigned to cater to the dragon's needs. A room revamp would do everyone involved with him good.
"Sure thing, chief. Pandora and I already drew the layout."
"I wouldn't mind some additions to my living space as well," Buku chipped in, covertly handing a chocolate bar to Ramiris that only Pero noticed since he knew his sibling.
"Me too!" Pero glanced at his sister and motioned for her to give Ramiris an additional bribe, which she immediately obliged. Ramiris greedily took both, stuffing them into her new skill, Inventory.
"Won't be a problem. But I think creating a space for Tempest's citizens takes priority," Ramiris replied, checking the rest of her new Skills from her new title.
There were a few other changes in her skillset as well. Like how Spatial Motion upgraded to Teleport and she gained a far higher-powered version of the extra skill Thought Acceleration.
'Hey, they're handing these out like candy. But if it's that easy for Nazarick to assign skills then… I'll have to be extra sure Momonga listens when it comes to damage Nazarick can cause. Come to think of it, what even is this skill? My Small World pales in comparison. I could create a small continent inside it and sustain it with fairly little difficulty.'
Her now massively accelerated thinking allowed her to contemplate these topics in such a short time that her new masters didn't notice her momentary wary expression. For now, she had no reason to believe that Momonga would do something so unreasonable as to threaten the world as a whole, but at the same time, he and other leaders of Nazarick clearly prioritized their own people over anyone else by an extremely wide margin, possibly to the detriment of the rest of the world.
"Of course. I'm just putting out a request as an extra, for after the important changes are done." Buku nodded in agreement.
"Albedo can provide all the details you need number-wise. She will be your direct superior as of now. I would prefer this matter to be resolved post haste. We may only have a few weeks to prepare, if not less," Momonga uttered.
"If Hinata cannot destroy the tomb directly, some sort of labyrinthian structure would hinder her advance into the tomb should we fail to stop her. Who knows, maybe we can freak her out with the roaches," Pero joined the conversation, dropping his casual tone as he laid out miscellaneous papers recently transferred from Pandora. Buku tossed in her own papers from earlier, with outlines of human psychology mixing into the pile. Veldora, not wanting to feel left out, tossed in some hastily created papers outlining the barrier that had kept him trapped for centuries, or at least what he could make of it.
"I'll take care of it, easy peasy. It shouldn't take me more than a day to completely create a floor and far less time to re-arrange one, so long as I'm supplied with power. If I understand it correctly, the skill's battery will give me enough energy to work with. By the way, what even is Nazarick? You know it shouldn't just generate energy like that."
"We came from another world where Nazarick was our guild's home. But this world could not properly understand its properties, and forced it into the framework of a skill. Don't stress about details for now. Everything is stable and won't cause any sort of effect on the world."
"Chief's right little one. I plunged into Nazarick personally and everything works fine," Veldora declared smugly, smirking.
After all, only he and Momonga could get any sense of the skill, so in that regard, he was superior compared to Pero and Buku, who often outclassed him in many aspects of life.
"I see. I should get started then," Ramiris replied.
If a True Dragon like Veldora was assured that Nazarick was stable, then she had no reason to doubt it. As chaotic and often childish as Veldora was, he still was the highest type of existence, and that intrinsic wisdom and ability displayed here was within him from the day he was born.
"Of course. I look forward to what you can do," Momonga articulated, leaving the newly formed room.
Ramiris was about to teleport away and arrange a meeting with Albedo when something else popped into her mind. 'Milim! I need to address it immediately.'
"Oh, before I go. Buku, there is something I must tell you about Milim."
"I told you, if you try to get between her and my son it won't end well for you." Buku's voice dropped deep as she stepped towards Ramiris, arms crossed.
"Look, I'm sorry that I tried to get between them. It was very childish of me, and now I know better that I shouldn't get involved with anyone. My lifecycle prevents me from forming lasting relationships after all. I promise to not get in their way, but you need to know the truth about Milim."
"What truth?" Momonga questioned, concerned. Milim was the most dangerous entity they had ever encountered, barring the sheer technical prowess that Ramiris had recently displayed, and even if she was easily contained with royal treatment, there was still a risk of her going off the handle and causing unimaginable damage to end thousands of lives.
"Milim won't age both physically and mentally. She's been in her current state since she reached the age of thirteen. I know you care for her, especially you Veldora, so I think it's important you all know."
"Why?" Buku asked. 'If she doesn't change, but Mare does grow up then their relationship won't last. I can't let that happen. My boy deserves a decent partner, not a perpetual child.'
"I'll just start with all I know about her." Ramiris sat down on the sofa, tapping her fingers together and staring downwards. Her tone changed from cheerful and energetic to a somber one.
"She's the daughter of the creator god Lord Veldanava, who gave her most of his power when she was born. So much so in fact that he and his wife, Milim's mother, were killed when she was just three years old at the time."
"None of her extended family took her in afterward, and she ended up being worshiped as a God by a lizardmen tribe that evolved into dragonnewts in the presence of her unrestricted aura. At the time, I was the queen of fairies and one of many who was entrusted with the stability of the world. I knew about her, but kept my distance, although in hindsight I should have reached out."
"Wait a fucking minute! She was left alone from the age of three. Veldora what the fuck is wrong with you and your sisters!?" Buku instantly got in the dragon's face. The idea of a child abandoned like that made her blood boil, being a mother herself.
Veldora took a step back and raised his hands defensively. "Give me a break. I think I was less than two decades old back then and big bro forbade me to interact with her. I don't know why my sisters didn't take her in."
"So neither of you three did anything and she was left on her own. No fucking wonder Milim hasn't grown up!" Buku took another step forward, refusing to give Veldora any space.
"I found it strange that a godlike being like her was left to her own devices," Momonga remarked in his usual calm manner. Even for him, the citation seemed infuriating, but he had the luxury of being calmed down by emotional suppression, something he wished he could transfer to the others at this moment.
Millim's situation was messed up no matter how he looked at it. It was easy to understand why she didn't want to leave Tempest, the new content being analyzed and compartmentalized into his ever-adjusting plans. They were likely the first people to treat her like a friend and family, not as a Goddess or the destructive force of nature most knew her as. It was no wonder that lately, she had become a lot tamer and less prone to violent outbursts, happily spending time with people she obviously cared for. She wanted a family.
"She wasn't completely alone. She had a pet dragon as a guardian. He was the one who kept her sane…" Ramiris paused.
"Ramiris?" Buku's voice got even lower.
"Foolish humans killed that dragon when they tried to harness Milim under their control, thinking if they held the dragon then they held her. That was when Milim snapped and awoke as a Demon Lord, slaughtering millions within minutes. If not for Guy keeping her at bay, the world would have ended then and there. But he wasn't enough to stop her, given that she held - and still holds - much of her father's raw magical power. I came to his help by mitigating their damages through my spirits, but their rampant demonic energies were too much for me, and thus I fell from grace. Working together with Guy, we managed to calm her down and establish a friendship, becoming at least two stable presences in her life."
Ramiris gulped heavily and continued. "On that day I became a Demon Lord as well and I couldn't remain my old self. I forcefully entered the cycle of reincarnation, and each time I cycle, I forget most of what I know, only to regain it as I grow up. Milim… she remained as is from that point on. Guy and I could not be the parental figures she desperately needed."
"Veldora. I won't blame you for not taking care of her back then but now you should know fucking better. We need to help her." Buku faced the frightened dragon, who hurriedly nodded.
"Do not make unreasonable promises to her. She already wanted to join Nazarick as a protector," Momonga said.
"Maybe we should let her? I mean we could use her help against Hinata."
"Bad Idea!" Ramiris screeched. "If she gets seriously wounded, she might go into a stampede and I won't be able to calm her down this time. It's her final defense mechanism, and if this Hinata is such a threat we better not let Milim be near her!"
"Ok, ok, but my point still stands. I will at least try to talk to her," Buku replied in a higher pitch, startled by Ramiris' outburst.
"Be careful, please. Milim may not react well if you try to bring up her past," Ramiris cautioned.
"I know. I'll be sensible. Such things cannot be forced. Momo, so you don't want her to join Nazarick?"
"Making her a guild member is too risky at the moment, and I'm sure she won't accept anything less. For now, avoid giving her any concrete promises, but you have my approval if you need to make renovations, change supplies, or almost anything else within reason."
"Got it." Buku nodded, teleporting away. Ramiris and Pero quickly followed suit to iron out the details of floor creation with Albedo, leaving only Veldora present.
"Chief, can't we think of something? My sisters won't do anything and what Buku said is true. We all neglected to take her in."
Momonga looked at the dragon. 'He has changed a lot. I guess Buku and Pero having children has made him realize the value of family. It seems his sisters had done a lot of damage in that regard.'
"She can stay as long as she wants, and I'm sure you and Buku can give her the semblance of a family she needs, but making her an official guardian might complicate things. I would prefer to leave such decisions after we have dealt with Hinata and the church, and thus have time to deliberate and compromise. If you want to give her a symbolic gesture, you could adopt her."
"Adopt her!?" Veldora looked at Momonga as if the undead had suggested he return to his cage within the cave and stay there for another three hundred years. "H-hey chief, I c-can't be her father. I-I don't know how. Besides it's not like she would agree. She is a demon lord and that would make things weird between us and…"
Veldora's reasoning rapidly became more incoherent as he tried to downplay the idea, suggesting almost anything else besides adopting her.
'Like I would know how to tackle it. It would be weird for Buku to adopt her since Milim and Mare are dating. If Veldora refuses, and Milim takes time to grow up, I may have to take up the responsibility. What do I know about raising children? Omniscience can only carry me so far...'
There was no clear answer on what to do with Milim, but one thing was for sure; they could not leave her on her own again. And a trip to Pandora to find some child-rearing book guides may be necessary within the next few years.
Editing by aidan_lo
Proofreading by Sluethen, Aurodium, aidan_lo, Miracle of Gods, FantasyTroll, Cakeeight, LightFlan, and Alassandro.
AN: Thank you for reading the story, and if you have caught up to the latest chapter, you can check out my other work or join my discord server (WmGKVU3XG2) where additional chapters are available or if you are interested in becoming a beta reader (gives access to chapters months ahead of regular readers).