Overlord (LN) - Volume 14: Prologue (Part 1)

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Volume 14: Prologue (Part 1)



Ainz’s room was situated on the ninth floor of the Great Tomb of Nazarick. The room, which had been converted from a bedroom to an office, was positioned the closest to the corridor. Inside, its owner was nowhere to be found yet the faint sound of paper being shuffled could be heard. Next to the desk frequently used by Ainz sat a smaller yet equally exceptional table and chair. It is upon such a chair that Albedo, the Guardian Overseer of the Great Tomb of Nazarick, sits upon to process the documents laid on the desk.


Ainz had already prepared a separate office specifically for her, one that was equal in status to his room, a room reserved for prospective guild members. At first, she had indeed been using that room as her own for clerical purposes, yet the day still came when she could no longer suppress her desire to work in the same room as her master. Although her requests were not met with any positive responses at first, her sincere pleas on the practical advantages of her proposal, in combination with a relentless barrage of complaints, had managed to receive an approval from her master.


Staring at the vacant seat, Albedo lowered her head and pouted slightly. The maid assigned to Ainz’s room for the day (not the one assigned to accompany him) was standing silently behind her. Due to that, Albedo’s rare expression went completely unseen. Her one and only master was currently out tending to his duties and so was absent from the Great Tomb of Nazarick. He was taking care of routine business in the city of E-Rantel.


If she had her master’s permission, she would have severely punished the idiots who, by setting up a meeting, had dared to encroach on the time she should be spending with him.


Of course, she knew that such a request would never be approved. As such she forcefully suppressed her pipedream to turn E-Rantel into a sea of flames but her efforts were in vain. The dissatisfaction in her heart grew and managed to boil over to manifest as complaints.


“How annoying…those insects…”


Laboured breaths filled with terror could be heard from the ceiling, yet they were intentionally ignored by Albedo. She still hadn’t forgotten the time they had ruined her chance and felt certain that they deserved to be scared at least a couple of times more. On the other hand, she had already forgiven Mare for his part in the incident for some reason. To regulate her emotions, Albedo sighed heavily. She gently twisted her shoulders a couple of times before turning to look at the remaining documents.


Following Nazarick’s - no, the Sorcerous Kingdom’s accelerated expansion, her workload had increased proportionally.


Regarding diplomacy:


Behind the curtains of the cordial interactions they’ve had with multiple other countries, the horns signaling the start of an espionage war had already been sounded.


Although they had confirmed the presence of spies from the Theocracy, Kingdom, and the City State Alliance in E-Rantel, the Sorcerous Kingdom chose to simply observe their actions for now. As Demiurge was in charge of these affairs, all Albedo had to do was to memorize the reports in front of her.


Regarding Internal Affairs:


E-Rantel hasn’t experienced many incidents caused by racial tensions. It wasn’t as though there were none to speak of but, compared to other countries, their numbers were shockingly low.


The citizens weren’t technically being threatened into this state either. They just had a clear understanding of exactly how terrifying the Sorcerer King and his undead subordinates could be, to the point where they’d choose to keep to themselves and live out peaceful lives by their own free will.


The crime rate was thus minimal. Although misdemeanors had occurred, none dared to commit a felony. E-Rantel had become a haven where women and children could walk the streets at night without worrying about their own safety. It had come to a point where they\'d run out of criminals to experiment on and had to get some from the Empire.


A crime that occurs in such a peaceful city is then a matter of utmost importance to Albedo. According to Heinrich’s law, a major accident indicates the presence of 29 minor accidents which in turn could indicate over 300 anomalies. What needs to be done then is to respond to any and all oddities, no matter how small they may be.


The binder in her hand held a month’s worth of court records from E-Rantel.


Due to how detailed the reports were, reading even a single one of them would be a massive time commitment. However, Albedo could process these documents much faster than a regular person, giving onlookers the false impression that she’s just flipping through them without giving them much thought at all. In conjunction, the pen that was held in her other hand moved at a blistering pace, noting down information she found interesting onto a white sheet of paper. {Was the judge’s ruling appropriate? Why would the defendant commit such a crime? Surmise from the above the current state of public order and morale in E-Rantel. Is the creation of new laws in response to the above necessary?}


What would normally require intense scrutiny of records by officials gathered from every corner of a nation, Albedo was doing on her own: analyze, evaluate, process. To do this, one would require an intimate understanding of internal affairs on par with one\'s familiarity with backs of their hands as well as an inhuman level of lucidity. Her pen stopped moving as soon as she finished reading the report and the process to transcribe the key words she had noted down began. After all it was something her master was about to read, illegible handwriting would be absolutely unacceptable. After spending more time transcribing the most important details, proposals, and other such documents than she had spent reading, it was finally ready.


Skimming over the completed document from top to bottom, Albedo’s lips formed the tiniest sliver of a smile. This wasn’t for the fact that she had just completed another task, but was simply borne from the gratification she experienced knowing that she’s proving herself to be useful to her master. She placed the documents back into the binder and raised it gently into the air where it was received by the maid on standby, who subsequently placed it onto her master’s desk. This was the fifth binder she has had to go through today. A slightly concerned expression could be seen on her face, her current situation isn’t great to say the least.


The Sorcerous Kingdom has through direct or indirect means greatly expanded their territory, causing them no end of troubles. Compared to before, the number of documents that must be brought to her master’s attention had greatly increased. A leader being forced to sift through mountains of documents would imply flaws in the organization.


As originally intended, her superior would only have to dictate a general direction or goal for his subordinates to work towards. All he has to do is to sit back on his throne and observe the hard work of his creations.


The fact that reality did not match expectations was not her master’s fault. Those that could match his expectations were few and far between, in other words, they lack sufficient talent. As the one appointed to manage the internal affairs and human resources of Nazarick, Albedo couldn’t help but feel ashamed at herself. Though she had taken precautionary measures, the future remains uncertain.


{To bother my master over such trivialities would be absolutely ridiculous, but...racial unity policies, plans to trial national laws, economic policies, and more must be determined by my master… if I do all the progress checks on tasks assigned to the Floor Guardians, it would displease everybody because they won’t be able to see Momonga-sama, right?...}


For the moment, her master has given her free reign over all of his affairs no matter how important or insignificant they are. She was also told as long as she approved of something herself, it would be fine in his eyes. Still, to avoid any unnecessary complications it’s best to leave the right of final approval to her master. After all, even Albedo makes mistakes


There was one time when she was about to send some idiotic scum and his family to the Frozen Prison for an affront to her master (at least it was in her opinion) and asked if the conviction should be for indignity or idiocy. To her great surprise, her master objected to the punishment.


{I knew Momonga-sama was a merciful one, yet I still…}


Hmm… Albedo pouted her lips. For her it was truly a rare expression to make, and one that only surfaces for a moment when her master is not there.


Before long, her smile returned as she picked up the next binder. While reading, her mind became preoccupied with something else. Among all of the Floor Guardians, there was one that she should stay the most vigilant for - Demiurge.


As the operations against the Holy Kingdom drew to an end, Demiurge has been busy travelling far and wide to set up an intelligence agency with Nazarick at its center. To Albedo, the agency could prove to be problematic. It would have been fine if it were to be headed by Albedo, the Guardian Overseer herself, but it was not unlikely that the newly created position would be given to Demiurge. That would be a troublesome situation.


If possible, she would love to take that authority for herself by letting an easy to manipulate puppet chair the agency.


A few faces came to mind, but they were all lacking in some capacity.


{If I can’t get the job, then the only eligible candidate by a far margin would be Pandora’s Actor. It’d be very difficult to wrestle that much control authority from Demiurge…}


It wouldn’t be impossible for him to learn of Albedo’s true intentions if that were to happen.


If that were to be the case it would become a great cause of concern. It’s probably best not to do anything rash for now.


Her older sister might be a decent choice, but she was not an ally that Albedo could trust unconditionally. If she figures out Albedo’s true intentions, it’s entirely possible for them to become enemies.


Her younger sister, the strongest individual in Nazarick, would probably stay by her side even if she found out about Albedo’s plan. That, however, was because her master had ordered her to obey Albedo’s commands.


Sigh. What a mess. They’re understaffed.


No, manpower wasn’t the only thing they lacked. There’s also the matter of the funds that Albedo herself could spend freely. In that case, her master’s plan to expand operations outside of Nazarick had worked to her favour.


{The reorganized Adventurer’s Guild can be by my...Mare’s actions…the need to be on the alert for Aura…under Cocytus’ command…intelligence from Victim…the value of Shalltear’s transport network…amassing a secret fund from the Merchant’s Guild…manpower…and also Demiurge and that girl, huh…}


It took a mere moment for Albedo to consider matters from multiple facets, a feat no ordinary person could do, after which her brows furrowed slightly.


{That wouldn’t work. I must remain cautious of Demiurge. Reaching out to that girl would also be too dangerous. If I’m not careful, she might become an opponent that I would have to be wary of, even more so than Demiurge…}


She completed another task while pondering about all sorts of strategies and reached for another binder.


The binder contained limited amounts of information. Either a new problem was being presented, or it was prepared by someone not used to paperwork, like Shalltear.


Albedo glanced at the cover titled “Regarding the problems faced by the team supporting the Holy Kingdom’s grain management”.


Apparently it’s the former. Albedo couldn’t recall anything in regards to such a problem.


Did something happen? Albedo blinked a few times as she read, her eyes opening wide into smooth circles. She read it again from the beginning and after confirming its content contained no metaphors or falsehoods, her mouth opened slightly as if in a daze.


“Huh?”


Her usually dignified face appeared to be more perplexed than anything else, as if she’s unable to comprehend what she’d read.


Albedo, one of the top minds of Nazarick, had an expression rarely seen by others, a testament to the situation\'s severity. Despite that, Albedo’s lucid mind still pushed onwards, contemplating the cause and possibility of the problem being presented.


{It’s highly likely that the girl betrayed us but… did she accept a better offer from another organization? But according to my judgement, that offer should’ve been impossible to trump… No, nothing is confirmed yet. A lack of intelligence again, huh.}


Whoever presented the report must explain it to her in detail. At the same time, she must discuss the matter with Demiurge, her colleague who’s probably deeply linked to the problem.


Reporting to her master will have to wait till afterwards.


She browsed the two other reports, confirmed that they were not that important, and said to the maid standing behind her,


“We must hold an emergency meeting. I will go to the Seventh Floor first to discuss matters with Demiurge. If anyone comes looking for me, tell them that I\'m absent for the moment.”


She activated the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown on her left ring finger as soon as she finished dictating her orders.


As the Guardian Overseer, she had to keep in her mind where every Floor Guardian was at all times.


Demiurge had just finished his work in the Holy Kingdom. In order to prepare plans against the alliance of the Council State, Slane Theocracy, and the City-State Alliance, he should have returned to his abode on the Seventh Floor.


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