My exams start next week. Sorry for the late chapter. Once the exams are over, I will wholely devote myself to translating.
Also, I am experimenting with Shalltear’s speak patterns as her Japanese feels weird and so I will use what I feel to be the English equivalent of it: Shakespearean. Of course it is not actual Shakespearean so you guys probably can read. Tell me what you think in the comments below. I can also add in the modern translation as footnotes if you’ld like or abolish it all together.
Translators: fba90130 and Henet
Such a distasteful existence.
Those were the thoughts of Zack as he jogged through the alleyways. Life was meaningless.
Within the Kingdom’s villages, the residents lived a life that was far from being called happiness.
They worked hard, farming their lands, but the fruits of their labor would then be taken away by their master. If 60% were collected, they would still manage. They could still survive on the remaining 40% although they may starve, but they will find a way to survive.
The problem came when up to 80% of the crops were taken. To survive on 40% of the crops was the lower limit, and it was not an easy life. Needless to say, to survive just on 20% would be impossible.
The outcome would be harsh.
One day, Zack returned home after working at the fields. His sister, who made his weariness disappear had gone missing.
Back then, he was still young, he did not understand what happened. His cute little sister was gone and his parents did not even lift a finger. Now he understood what had transpired, she was sold. Although the Golden Princess had prohibited it, back then the buying and selling of slaves were common.
Hence during the times when he went whoring, every time he passed by them, he would look for her. It would be unlikely that he could find her again, but he did not stop.
Besides living in harsh and poor conditions, he was further burdened by the conscription.
To counter the Empire’s consistent military campaign, the Kingdom gathered all the villages’ able bodied young men and ordered them to head towards the battlefield. Losing one month worth of labour strength from the young men, drastically altered fortunes of the village. However, there are also those who viewed this development in a positive way.
A drop in the number of people meant that individual household food consumption would be reduced. There were also those who led a good life after becoming soldiers.
In the fight for their lives, there were those who were rewarded for their outstanding performance. No, some had achieved similar results but were not rewarded. Only those who were selected could receive the accolades.
After he returned to the village, due to the stalled work from the lack of hands, the yearly harvest plummeted despairingly.
Zack was drafted twice.
During his third tour,
The battle ended as usual, once again Zack survived due to his luck. He stopped during his journey back to the village. A sudden thought came to him as he looked at the weapon on his hand.
Instead of going back to the village, why should he not start a new life.
However, as a simple Villager with only the bare minimum of military training, Zack did not have much of a future in front of him. Even his weapons and armor were temporarily loaned to him by the kingdom. And of course, he did not have any special powers. His knowledge was limited to what anybody who worked the earth for a living knew, like what kind of seed to plant during which season.
What Zack did was to desert carrying with him his only advantage, his weapon.
Of course it was not that easy to desert the Kingdom. You could say that he was lucky enough to meet people who could help him as fled.
Of course, as an ordinary villager, Zack did not have much value as a mercenary. It was just that this particular group had suffered heavy losses due to wars and was simply looking for bodies to fill its depleted ranks.
During times of war, they were mercenaries, at other times, bandits.
Zack’s life in the band was not much to talk to about.
It was certainly better than nothing though.
He would steal to avoid being stolen from.
He avoid the life of tears by forcing those tears on others.
That was the kind of life Zack led.
He never considered what he did as wrong. He certainly had no regrets.
And that was because he believed that his victims weren’t innocent either—-
Zack walked hurriedly into the corner shack of a row of similar small shacks near the slums.
The evening sun bathed the surroundings in blaze of fiery red, and was slowly replaced by a creeping darkness that stained everything black.
The danger level in the slums always spiked up at dusk, just before the sun set. However, for those who were used to its dangers, getting around was not much of a problem. Generally as long as you had got a knife up your sleeve to handle any trouble, you would be fine.
Zack looked quickly around him to make sure he was not being followed.
Although he had checked countless number of times on his way here, he made one last pass.
He held his breath in front of the door, and knocked several times. Leaving a gap of a few seconds, he knocked again. It was the proper way to do things.
There was a creaking of wood as the peep slot on the door opened. A pair of eyes belonging to a man stared out at Zack and recognized him.
“You huh, oh, wait fer a little.”
The board that had covered the peep slot moved back in position. There was a heavy clink of keys being retrieved and the door opened up slightly.
The fetid sour reek that wafted from inside the room promised an environment very different from the hotel that Zack had come from. Hoping that his nose would soon get used to the smell, he slipped into the house.
The small room was dim and narrow.
The door he had entered opened directly into a dining room cum kitchen with single a table. A lone candle stood on the table. The man who opened the door lit the single candle, its weak radiance soon filled the room.
The man looked back at Zack.
The man gave off the menacing aura of a man that made his living from violence. He wore clothes that fitted snugly around his form, designed for easy movement in combat. Here and there you could see knife scars on his arms and face.
The man pulled out a chair and sat down.
“Oh, Zack. What’s wrong, something happened?”
“The situation changed……The prey is about to move.”
“What…at this time? Impossible”, mumbled the man as he brushed his hands through his unkempt hair.
“Can’t you do shit about it?”
“That is difficult. It’s her idea?”
Having heard Zack complain many times before about the woman, the man’s face twisted in resignation.
“The idiot’s a problem…. How about sabotaging the wheels of the carriage?”
“It is impossible. There are too many people moving luggage and doing preparation work around the carriage to do anything to it.”
“Then all you need to do is to wait until just before setting off to strike.”
“If it were that easy I would have just gone ahead and sabotaged the wheel even before the preparations have started don’t you think?”
The man stared off into the air deep in thought.
It was not easy to gather the men but if they were to contact them immediately, perhaps they could still be in time to carry out the attack.
“When are they moving?”
“Bout two hours time.”
“You gotta be kidding me, so little time. What to do.”
The man fell deep in thought, calculating the time needed to carry out each phase of the attack with his fingers. Silently looking on as the man made his calculations, Zack looked down at his own fingers.
“Those rich people really piss me off…”
Those beautiful hands.
They reminded him of the hands of the overseers in the fields. Hands which only those people who have never seen manual labour had.
While people who worked the fields had their hands cracked and split by cold water, develop calluses swinging their hoes and even suffered from misshapened fingernails.
He had always known that the world was unfair but—-
Zack’s lips twisted as he bared his teeth in resentment.
“That women, let me have some fun with her too.”
“You can. But I’ll be first.”
A lecherous grin appeared on the man’s face. As if driven by lust, the man stood up.
“Contact the boss.”
“About ten men will be waiting at the usual place. We will move into action as soon as you arrive in four hours. If you aren’t there in four hours, we’ll come to you. In meantime, lull our prey into a false sense of security”
The border fortress receded as a lone carriage sped away under the pale moonlight.
It was a large carriage. One large enough to fit 6 people and then some. The carriage was drawn by four horses of such quality that one could mistake them for being military horses.
A large full moon hung low in the night sky casting beams of pale-white onto the ground illuminating the surroundings with surprising effectiveness. However bright the moon-light may had been, travelling in the open countryside in a carriage in the dead of the night was rather stupid if you were human. Assuming that you wanted to survive the night of course. If one was forced to spend a night in the open, the correct precautions to take were to strike up a camp, set up a large fire and post guards.
Humans did not have any influence over the world at night. No, perhaps it would be more accurate say that the world of humans ended where light ended. Because the risk of being attacked by nocturnal beasts and demi-humans with their superior night vision was extremely high in the darkness.
And no matter how the map was drawn, the human kingdoms really only exerted control over large cities, the villages and smaller settlements around the cities and the highways which bound the cities together. Monsters populated the enormous gaps in-between, albeit in small groups. As soon as groups of monsters got large enough to be visible, they would be hunted down and driven off. However, in the deep forests and valleys where humans would not go, the monsters built large tribes.
In any reasonably large forest, a lone human could wander randomly in any direction for 20 minutes and expect to encounter something. It could be squirrels or foxes, it could just as well be wolves , other large beasts or demi-humans like ogres or goblins. That was how dangerous a place the forest is.
And that was why adventurers could always find gainful employment.
And so it was on a night full of dangers previously described, the carriage sped along the highway. Despite its speed, the occupants of the carriage barely experienced any rocking.
The stability of the carriage wasn’t due so much to the quality of the spring suspension in the carriage as much as the paved roads over which it ran. There were, of course, both paved and unpaved roads in the Kingdom, but this close to a city directly administered by the crown, the roads were properly paved with cobblestones.
The paving of the roads had originally been proposed by Princess Renner, but at this point in time, only a portion of the highways connecting crown administered cities and the lands held by Marquis Raeven had been paved. The other nobles have hindered the project by claiming that making the roads easier to travel only made invading the Kingdom easier.
In addition, the cost of the project also complicated matters. Renner had proposed to have the merchants defray some of the costs, but the nobles objected fearing the loss of their road privileges.
And with that you have the explanation for the current wretched state of the Kingdom’s roads.
Suddenly, the carriage started to clatter as it ran along, shaking the occupants inside.
The shaking brought to an end a conversation that was going on inside the carriage.
Shalltear sat on one side flanked by her vampire servants. On the other side sat Sebas, and beside him, Solution. Zack was, of course, driving the carriage.
Silence descended on the carriage for a moment before Sebas opened his mouth .
“I have always wanted to ask you something.”
“Hmmm? Me? What?”
“You don’t seem to get along with Aura-sama.”
“….Actually I doth not bethink mine own relationship with Aura is lacking valor”
“….Actually I do not think my relationship with Aura is that bad.”
Replied Shalltear in a soft whisper, as she idly inspected her pinky fingernail.
Shalltear’s pearly white fingernails were two centimeters in length. She held a nail file in one hand but it did not seem to be of any use as her nails were already perfectly manicured. Shalltear probably felt the same way as she passed the file to a vampire servant.
And with both hands free, she started to reach out with each hand towards the bosom of the vampire servants seated next to her but thought better of it as she noticed the awkward expression of the people seated in front of her.
“Doth thee not bethink so?”
“Do you not think so?
Shalltear’s face twisted in a grimace as if she had bitten into something bitter.
“Is this something yond the Land Steward hast to worry about?” A moment’s pause. “….Mine own creator Peroroncino-sama madeth me this way. Mine own bickering with aura. Perhaps Aura hadst been did createth by Bukubukuchagama-sama to doth the same. ”
“Is this something the Land Steward has to worry about?” “My creator Peroroncino-sama made me this way. My arguments with Aura. Maybe Aura was made by Bukubukuchagama-sama to do the same.”
Shalltear fluttered her hands in the air with a bored gesture as she directed her gaze at Sebas. For the first time, she locked eyes with Sebas.
“Well, mine own creator Pereroncino-sama and Aura’s creator Bukubukuchagama-sama art siblings. In a way, Aura and I art eke siblings.”
“Well, my creator Pereroncino-sama and Aura’s creator Bukubukuchagama-sama are siblings. In a way, Aura and I are like siblings.”
“Siblings, so it seems!”
“Longeth ago, I overheard a conversation between Pereroncino-sama and two other members of the 41 Supreme Beings—-Luci★fer-sama and Nishikienrai-sama at which hour those gents visited mine own leveleth of the dungeon.”
“Long ago, I overheard a conversation between Pereroncino-sama and two other members of the 41 Supreme Beings—Luci★fer-sama and Nishikienrai-sama when they visited my level of the dungeon.”
Shalltear’s eyes misted over with wistful longing as the memories of her escorting the great ones in the walk through the dungeon floated in front of her.
“T appears yond Bukubukuchagama-sama hadst an occupation hath called Seiyuu (Voice Actress). The lady wast so popular yond her voice appears in many games. Pereroncino-sama hadst been very depressed because of this. That gent couldst not enjoyeth his did desire games because his sister’s visage hath appeared in his imagination every timeth that gent hath heard her voice. ”
“It seems that Bukubukuchagama-sama had an occupation known as a Seiyuu (Voice Actress). She was so popular that she appeared in many games. Pereroncino-sama has been depressed because of this. He could not enjoy his much desired games as his sister’s face appeared in his mind every time he heard her voice.”
Shalltear continued recalling the conversation even though she had no idea what it was about. Sebas also cocked his head quizzically at Shalltear, a mystified expression on his face.
“A seiyuu….I do not possess any knowledge of such a thing.”
They looked at each other and silently agreed that this “Seiyuu” was probably some word of power that nobody except the Supreme Ones understood.
“Who is’t is the one guarding the eighth floor?”
Sebas blinked in surprise at the sudden change in topic but regained his composure almost immediately.
“….As I recall, at which hour those daws yond crossed the Supreme Ones invaded in force, the 8th floor wast the lasteth line of defence wast t not? In yond case, the 8th floor shouldst be very well did guard”
“….As I remember, when those people angered the Supreme Ones and invaded in force, the 8th floor was the last line of defense. In that case, the 8th floor should be well guarded.”
“Haply one of Ainz-sama’s creations?”
“Maybe one of Ainz-sama’s creations?”
Among the denizens of Nazarick, one’s place in the pecking order of the hierarchy was determined by whether or not one was created by the 41 Supreme Beings. This was so, whether be it ordinary homunculus maids directly created by the 41 Supreme Beings, Kyouhukou, the Chief Librarian or the Head Chef.
And of course even the Guardians created by the 41 Supreme Beings.
Sebas’s creator was Touch Me, Demiurge’s was Ulbert Alain Odle, Cocytus’s was Blue Planet, and so on. However, Shalltear had no clue as to the identities of Ainz’s creations.
It was hard to believe that there were none.
Since the 8th Floor was unknown to Shalltear, it was therefore logical to guess that Ainz’s creation resided on the 8th Floor.
“….No, that probably not the case. I’ve only heard a little about this but Ainz-sama’s creation is named Pandora’s Actor. He is as powerful as I am or any of the Guardians and guards the deepest part of the Treasury”
“There wast yond sort of person?”
“There was that sort of person?”
Shalltear’s brows furrowed at the unfamiliar name.
Even though the Treasury could not be reached without the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown, it would be strange for such a place to be unguarded.
The deepest part of the treasury.
The treasury was where Ainz Ooal Gown’s most powerful of Magic Items were enshrined. It was ground so sacred that even the Guardians were not allowed entry. Of course, Shalltear had no idea what kind of Magic Items would reside in such a place, but the treasury held the highest class of Magic Items also known as Artifacts. And beyond the Artifacts it was rumored that there were also a few of the unique World Class Items. There were only a grand total of 200 of these one-of-a-kind items in this world.
This included the many taken by the large army that had, in the past, invaded Nazarick, as well as the ones currently still in the treasury.
In that case, probably only the creation of Ainz, the head of the 41 Supreme Beings, would be worthy enough to guard this place.
Shalltear’s heart could not help but to be a little hurt at not being able to guard that holiest of places.
However, being the guardian of the three levels that would face Nazarick’s enemies first was a responsibility of the highest order.
“Eh. Do you happen to have an idea about what Ainz-sama is doing right now?”
“Of course. that gent is currently in the treasury experimenting with magic items as well as performing tests on various magics and spells.”
“My subordinates accompany Ains-sama when he retrieves the magic items from the treasury.”
Having lost interest in the conversation, Shalltear gave little more than a noncommittal grunt of acknowledgement. Sebas, however, did not seem to mind.
“In conclusion, the 8th Floor remains a mystery….”
“Yes. We do not have permission to enter, so there is probably something there.”
“What doth thee mean by something?”
“What do you mean by something?”
“Perhaps something that will attack even us?”
“Nay. Yond is not lacking valor but…. What about death traps that doth not differentiate?”
“No. That is not bad but….. What about death traps that do not differentiate?”
“Well I doubt anybody powerful enough to penetrate the other floors of Nazarick would be defeated by traps….”
“Shalt we taketh a peek?”
“Shall we take a look?”
Shalltear grinned impishly like a child with a prank on her mind. In contrast, Sebas’s smile was his usual. An enigmatic smile that seemed to have some kind of deeper meaning behind it.
“Do you plan to disobey Ainz-sama?”
“Lies, lies. Simply a jest. Prithee don’t maketh such a terrifying visage.”
“Lies, lies. Simply a joke. Please don’t make such a terrifying face.”
“Shalltear-sama, remember that curiosity killed the cat. If Ains-sama had meant for us to know what resided on the 8th floor, he would have told us. Until then, we will just have to be patient.”
“I supposeth so. I wonder if it be true the prey hast taken the bait?”
Again Sebas adapted to the sudden change in topic with nary a word of protest.
“Yes. Hook, line and sinker. Now all we need to do is pull the fish out of the water and it’s ours.”
Shalltear licked her lips. Her red eyes had a crimson light flash in them.
“I have something to request Shalltear-sama about.”
“……What is it?”
Shalltear raised an unsatisfied voice when her enjoyment was interrupted. Sebas continued in a soothing manner.
“Currently, the man driving the carriage, could you possibly give it to this girl?”
“Yes, little more than a messenger I think.”
Shalltear closed her eyes as if deep in thought, considering all possible implications of granting the request.
“Well tis fine. I don’t bethink yond fellow wouldst taste very well, be it. ”
“It’s fine. I don’t he would taste very good.”
“Our heartfelt thanks for Shalltear-sama’s generosity of spirit.”
“Our deepest gratitude, Shalltear-sama”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Shalltear gave Solution a smile of such friendliness that would make one doubt its possibility. From there she sent only her gaze to Sebas.
“I am sorry about mine own jest earlier. Desire this maketh us coequal.”
“I apologise for my joke earlier. I hope this makes us equal.”
“Understood….In any case, I never believed from the beginning that Shalltear-sama would ever seriously consider doing such a foolish thing. I understood your words were meant in jest.”
“Aye, the bethought of thee taking mine own gest the wrong way never did cross mine own mind either. ” Shalltear laughed. “I supposeth if ‘t be true thee didst misunderstand, thee wouldst keepeth a gaze on me quietly. At the first signeth of betrayal thee wouldst cutteth off mine own arms and legs and bringeth me backeth to Ainz-sama.”
“Yes, the thought of taking my joke the wrong way never crossed my mind.” “I suppose if you did misunderstand, you would keep an eye on me. At the first sign of betrayal you would cut off my arms and legs and bring me back to Ainz-sama.”
“I would never do such a thing Shalltear-sama”
“Thee wouldn’t? Wouldn’t refusing cast doubteth on thy loyalty?—-Surely thee wouldst doth t?”
“You wouldn’t? Wouldn’t refusing cast doubt on your loyalty?—-Surely you would do it?”
Shalltear and Sebas laughed. A shared laughter that came from the bottom of their hearts.
“Well, I didst has’t a thing for cute girls. After Ainz-sama wast done, perhaps that gent couldst giveth me Solution. Yond wouldst be fun—-”
“Well, I do have this thing for cute girls. After Ainz-sama is done, maybe he could give me Solution. That would be fun—-“
“—-What kind of orders did Ains-sama give you?”
Sebastian tried to change the topic to refrain from furthering the discussing.
Before setting off, Sebas had received a magic message from Ains stating that Shalltear would be joining him in the bandit hunt. Sebas had a vague understanding that Shalltear was specifically chosen for this mission.
But he had no idea as to the deeper motivation behind her selection.
“….If ‘t be true there art people yond can useth weapons or magic, Ainz-sama shall not mind if ‘t I biteth those folk and maketh those folk mine own slaves, but I must capture those folk. If ‘t be true there art people yond understand the state of the world or can square, those gents wilt not escapeth. Those art the main points. Well, though there is the option of investigating one on one, I wouldst nevertheless biteth all of those folk. ”
“If there are people that can use weapons or magic, Ainz-sama will not mind if I bite them and make them my slaves, but they must be captured. If there are people that understand the state of the world or can fight, they will not escape. Those are the main points. Well, the is the option of investigating one or one, but I would just bite all of them.”
Sebas nodded his head in understanding.
“From my personal point of view, Demiurge-sama would be a better choice. Similar to Aura-sama’s breath, he can control the will of others freely.”
Sebastian muttered meekly.
Demiurge had the Domination Curse special skill, which was a powerful mind control technique that is able to control a target’s action. For a mission that required the capture of the target like the current one, it would be exceptionally effective.
Shalltear suddenly made an unbelievably low pitch sound.
The air in carriage became heavy, a air so cold that could pierce the skin started to descend inside the carriage.
Even the horses that was pulling the carriage felt it, causing the carriage to shake violently. The vampires seated on both sides of Shalltear turned even paler while Solution, who was besides Sebas, was shivering. Even Sebas who was on the same level as Shalltear felt goosebumps.
A wave of crimson spread out from Shalltear’s red pupils, dyeing her eyes completely in red.
“Sebas, wouldst thee liketh to sayeth again one more timeth? Or wouldst thee liketh to turneth into thy dragonic form?” The crimson pupils stirred. “And square to the death?”
“Sebas, would you like to say that one more time? Or would you like to turn into your dragonic form?” “And fight to the death?”
“I have greatly misspoken. Please forgive me.”
The only reply towards Sebas apology from Shalltear was silence.
A few seconds passed, before Shalltear took several deep breaths.
The atmosphere of the carriage started to warm. At the last heavy breath, Shalltear’s pupils reverted to her usual look that oozed a sensual hunger.
“….In short, those gents shall be turn into slaves after we sucketh their blood, so yond wouldst be much simpler. There is nay need to bringeth those folk backeth alive, Ainz-sama hath brought up this issue before.”
“….Basically, they shall be turned into slaves after we suck their blood, so that would be much simpler. There is no need to bring them back alive, Ainz-sama has brought this up before.”
“Certainly it was true, please forgive me for my shallow understanding.”
Vampires could turn their target into a low-tier undead with absolutely obedience by completely sucking all their blood. Vampires were only able to create lesser vampires with intelligence far below their own, as for Shalltear, she could create vampires with an intelligence on the level of a human.
Since the status of the prey, being dead or alive did not matter. Shalltear could still be considered an excellent hunter for this job, although there was a limit to how many vampires she could create.
Then, there was a strong shake on the horse carriage, followed by the neighing of the horses that pulled the carriage.
“….Looks liketh the carriage hadst ceased.”
“….Looks like the carriage has stopped.”
Shalltear smiled like a little girl bent on mischief. Sebastian gave out a light smile while stroking his beard.