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  1. 2
  2.  
  3. Two hours after meeting the Lizardman, Ainz sighed quietly within his room.
  4.  
  5. That was because he had just finished communicating with Fluder and Ainzach via [Message].
  6.  
  7. Why do I have to personally teleport over there to prove who I am? Especially Fluder. You’d think he’d be used to it by now. I guess I thought wrong.
  8.  
  9. When he used [Message], neither of them could believe that he was Ainz, so he had no choice but to [Teleport] to where they were and speak to them in person.
  10.  
  11. It made him feel like they had planned it out beforehand, given the way in which they apologized for the inconvenience in the same way and asked Ainz to only use [Message] in times of emergency.
  12.  
  13. Ainzach aside, you’d think Fluder wouldn’t want to waste time on other matters, considering the book which I gave him.
  14.  
  15. Of course, Ainz was wise enough to hold his tongue.
  16.  
  17. Speaking of which, while he had heard of the tragedies caused by the use of [Message] in the past, it was hard for him to understand why they could not put their faith in the spell until now. That said, it probably was not something they could accept so easily. In addition, it would be quite damaging if they, as his collaborators, were deceived in such a way. In that case, all he could do was suck it up and accept that the MP cost of teleportation magic as a necessary expense.
  18.  
  19. His low-energy state was also related to the results of his conversations with the two of them. The use of teleportation would have been worthwhile if it had yielded good information. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
  20.  
  21. Ainzach knew that there was a Dwarven Kingdom in the Azellisia Mountain Range, but he was not sure of its location. The Kingdom had not attempted to forge any national-level ties with the Dwarves either. Even if they had, those would probably be limited to small deals within the mining city of Re-Brumelashul. Ties like these would be closely linked to the city’s profits, in any case, and so it would be hard to try and cut in on them.
  22. (TL Note: リ.ブルムラシユール)
  23.  
  24. Fluder felt the same way as well.
  25.  
  26. Although he had heard of Dwarven culture and their government, the fact was that he knew next to nothing about them. There was something about how a certain Dwarven city had suffered a disaster in the form of a powerful Dragon, but he had no clue about the name of the city, or the name and abilities of the Dragon.
  27.  
  28. It would seem Fluder had not investigated the matter because it did not interest him. However, they could probably begin researching it through Imperial channels after this. At least, that was what Fluder suggested, but Ainz shot that suggestion down. It would take too much time, and having an exposed traitor like himself perform said research might lead to trouble.
  29.  
  30. In the end, the only person he could count on was Zenberu the Lizardman.
  31.  
  32. It’s about time I sent a [Message] to those two and told them about the Dwarves.
  33.  
  34. “I’ll contact Shalltear first. Hm… the right person for the job?”
  35.  
  36. That was high praise and cruel criticism at the same time.
  37.  
  38. Ainz closed his eyes — though he had no eyeballs — and thought about the matter for a minute or more. Then, he opened his eyes and cast the [Message] spell.
  39.  
  40. “—Shalltear Bloodfallen.”
  41.  
  42. 『Is, is that you, Ainz-sama? Where do you need a [Gate] opened this time?』
  43.  
  44. Shalltear was the strongest of the Floor Guardians, and the only one to administer multiple floors. The fact that the first thing she asked was where to open a [Gate] was terribly sad. At the same time, Ainz felt a little guilty about assigning her to that task.
  45.  
  46. “No. This time, I shall entrust a weighty duty to you.”
  47.  
  48. 『A, a weighty duty?』
  49.  
  50. “Umu. Walk with me, and ensure my safety.”
  51.  
  52. The silence lasted several seconds.
  53.  
  54. Don’t tell me she didn’t hear that. What’s going on? Just as Ainz began to wonder if something was wrong, Shalltear’s voice — off-key, probably from over-excitement — rang through his head.
  55.  
  56. 『Your servant shall fulfil this task, even if she must grind herself to dust in the process!!!』
  57.  
  58. “U-umu. Then I shall explain in greater detail. Come to my quarters in E-Rantel.”
  59.  
  60. If he did not specify that, it was quite likely that she would teleport to Ainz’s room in Nazarick. However, that had only happened once. He had sent a [Message] to Narberal telling her to come to his room, and after waiting and waiting for ages she had not arrived. It was only after he sent another [Message] to her that he discovered she had been waiting at his room in Nazarick.
  61.  
  62. Ainz reflected on it, and realized that the fault lay with the order which he had given. Thus, he resolved never to make that mistake again.
  63.  
  64. 『Understood! Your servant shall come immediately!!!』
  65.  
  66. “Also, give Mare your task of maintaining surveillance on the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick. Inform him of whatever he needs to know when you hand your duties over to him. Considering the time needed for that… Come over when you’ve settled your affairs over there. I don’t have any appointments which will take me away from my chambers, so I will wait until you arrive.”
  67.  
  68. 『Yes!! I, Shalltear Bloodfallen, shall carry out your orders faithfully and immediately!!』
  69.  
  70. “The handing and taking over of duties is very important. Don’t rush and make a mess of it just because I’m waiting, got that? I shall order Mare to proceed to your room, the Adipocere Chamber.”
  71.  
  72. 『Understood!! Then I shall commit the tasks I will be giving him onto paper!!』
  73.  
  74. “Also, I trust I don’t need to say this, but you are to give your ring to Mare.”
  75.  
  76. 『Of course!! I understand that it will only be in his safekeeping for a while!!』
  77.  
  78. It was too dangerous to bring that ring outside of Nazarick. In other words, as long as it and the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown were not taken, there would be enough time for all the Guardians to gather. Therefore, the rings were hidden within the piles of gold within the Treasury, apart from the one which Ainz wore and the ones issued to certain people within Nazarick.
  79.  
  80. The reason why Ainz wore the ring despite knowing the danger was because it would be impossible to enter Nazarick if nobody wore it and the enemy had blockaded the entrance to Nazarick.
  81.  
  82. “Very well. Begin your preparations, then.”
  83.  
  84. 『Yes!! Then, is there anything I should bring to your room, Ainz-sama?』
  85.  
  86. “A reasonable question, but there is nothing you need to bring. I will explain my plan to you when the time comes, and then I will give you time to ready yourself.”
  87.  
  88. 『Understood!!』
  89.  
  90. Shalltear’s passionate response vanished as the spell terminated.
  91.  
  92. Then, he sent Mare a [Message]. There was little difference in the contents of their conversation, save that he told him to take Shalltear’s place as the protector of the Great Underground Tomb of Nazarick.
  93.  
  94. After hearing Mare’s still, small yet clear voice, Ainz ended the [Message].
  95.  
  96. Finally, Ainz sent Aura a [Message].
  97.  
  98. “Aura, it’s me.”
  99.  
  100. 『Yes, Ainz-sama! What do you need me to do?』
  101.  
  102. “Umu. I would like you to accompany me to the Dwarven Kingdom.”
  103.  
  104. 『Understood!』
  105.  
  106. “First, I hope you will meet me in my chambers at E-Rantel. Wait for Shalltear with me.”
  107.  
  108. 『Shalltear?!』
  109.  
  110. The ensuing cry of disbelief made Ainz give thanks that he could hear without eardrums.
  111.  
  112. “Aura, lower your voice.”
  113.  
  114. 『I, I’m very sorry, Ainz-sama!』
  115.  
  116. Like I said, lower your voice... Ainz thought that, but did not say it.
  117.  
  118. 『Eh, then, are we going to destroy the Dwarven Kingdom?』
  119.  
  120. “No. How did you reach that dangerous misunderstanding? I just want to conduct some friendly negotiations.”
  121.  
  122. 『Ah, I see! So you’ve already foreseen that negotiations will break down, then?』
  123.  
  124. “Aura, your—”
  125.  
  126. 『Ainz-sama, I’m here!』
  127.  
  128. “What? You mean you’ve already arrived at my room?”
  129.  
  130. 『Yes, exactly!』
  131.  
  132. A knocking came from the door just as she said this.
  133.  
  134. Ainz smiled bitterly as he watched Decrement go to answer it.
  135.  
  136. “Ainz-sama, Aura-sama requests your permission to enter.”
  137.  
  138. Ainz gestured his approval, and Decrement took one step away from the door.”
  139.  
  140. 『”Sorry to disturb you, Ainz-sama!”』
  141.  
  142. Aura’s voice overlapped with that of the [Message] spell as the Dark Elf girl greeted him.
  143.  
  144. “All right, then. Have a seat and we’ll talk.”
  145.  
  146. Ainz indicated a pair of sofas which faced each other, and then turned to Decrement.
  147.  
  148. “Prepare refreshments for Aura.”
  149.  
  150. “Yes, Ainz-sama. We have apple juice, orange juice, fizzy lemonade, tea and coffee on hand at the moment.”
  151.  
  152. Decrement placed the apple juice which Aura requested on the small table between the two sofas. As Aura began sipping at it, Ainz began his explanation.
  153.  
  154. “First, let me explain myself about your question concerning the destruction of the Dwarven Kingdom. Bringing Shalltear along does fulfil a requirement for combat power, but there is another reason for that.”
  155.  
  156. “Eh?!”
  157.  
  158. Aura’s eyes went wide. Given her attitude, it was clear that she considered Shalltear to have very limited uses. Still — Ainz found it hard to hold back the warmth surging within his chest.
  159.  
  160. It reminded him of Bukubukuchagama and Peroroncino’s relationship.
  161.  
  162. Every now and then, Bukubukuchagama would ask, “Has my stupid little brother given you any trouble?”
  163.  
  164. When people replied with an, “Uh, I don’t think so?” she would immediately respond like Aura had, with a “Seriously?!”
  165.  
  166. It was hard for Ainz to contain himself as he realized that Aura and Shalltear were carrying on that same relationship. The memories fell like powdery snow, filling his heart with bliss. His joy welled up, and just as he was about to laugh — the emotion was suppressed.
  167.  
  168. “...Damn.”
  169.  
  170. Ainz quietly cursed as his moment of joy was interrupted by his emotional suppression. It had helped him out many times in the past, but he found it tiresome when it got in his way. Ainz knew he was being selfish and hypocritical, but he still found it hard to accept this interruption of the memories of his former friends.
  171.  
  172. “Ah, er… Ainz-sama? What’s wrong?”
  173.  
  174. However, his displeasure vanished like smoke in the wind as he heard the girl’s tremulous voice. He could not allow himself to express these negative emotions which even a child could see. Ainz took a deep breath, and smiled to Aura.
  175.  
  176. “No, my apologies. It’s nothing. As I was saying earlier, I’m bringing Shalltear along this time round to explore her flexibility. She was created to be the strongest Guardian. At that time, if she had fought properly, even I might not have been able to beat her.”
  177.  
  178. “Well, if it’s for something like that—”
  179.  
  180. “—No, it’s not like that. If I were Shalltear, I would have summoned my Einherjar right away and then prepared for battle while it engaged my enemy and attacked with magic as my MP and skills permitted. Then, I would have triggered my Blood Frenzy and then charged into melee with the Spuit Lance while my attack power was increased.”
  181.  
  182. Ainz smiled, a little uncomfortable.
  183.  
  184. “If that had happened, I would have run away without a second thought.”
  185.  
  186. Player skills aside, Ainz’s character could only be considered to be in the upper portion of the middle tier of all players. Shalltear’s character build and equipment placed her in the lower portion of the top tier. If she was fully equipped — with divine-class items — she would be in the middle portion of the top tier. If she could change her gear to match her opponent, she might even be able to reach the upper echelons of the top tier.
  187.  
  188. “However, her reputation as the strongest Guardian has instead hampered Shalltear’s growth.”
  189.  
  190. “Eh?”
  191.  
  192. “The most effective use for Shalltear is to greatly reduce the enemy’s fighting power, so she has to be employed like an arrow. Once she is deployed, she has to be left to run amok through the enemy lines. However — is that really the right thing to do? It might be the best way to fully utilize Shalltear’s strength, but can we really say that it’s the most suitable method to use?”
  193.  
  194. “I don’t quite understand… but if you feel that it’s right, then it should be correct, Ainz-sama.”
  195.  
  196. That sort of answer really makes it hard to keep the conversation going. What Ainz truly wanted to hear right now was a reply in the negative, which was what a proper adult would have said. Still, children were expected to be frank, after all.
  197.  
  198. “Is, is that so. However, I don’t think that is the case. When I said that it was the best way, it was only in terms of fully utilizing her strength. However, it might not be the best way once Shalltear starts accumulating experience.”
  199.  
  200. Ainz was making progress as a warrior. No, it would be best to say that he had learned to make full use of all his abilities. While his body might not be able to improve, other parts of him were still growing.
  201.  
  202. Unlike how they had been when they were merely data, the NPCs now had minds and the capacity for independent thought. The same applied to Shalltear. The Shalltear of tomorrow would be different from the Shalltear of today.
  203.  
  204. “Having her do different things instead of repeating the same old tasks might help her grow… Of course, she might fail, although I do not wish for that. Still, even if she does mess up, all we need to do is to have someone beside her pick up the slack. I have asked for you for precisely that reason, Aura.”
  205.  
  206. Aura had a better relationship with Shalltear than Mare. Ainz had selected the elder sister of the twins because she could keep Shalltear in line.
  207.  
  208. Having listened attentively to all of this, Aura forcefully nodded in acknowledgement.
  209.  
  210. “...Still, while I said that I want her to accumulate various experiences, that might violate the social contract, and it would cause problems for the company — for the group.”
  211.  
  212. “Eh? What does that mean?”
  213.  
  214. “...Think of it this way. It would not be good to force Shalltear to do things she does not want to do.”
  215.  
  216. “Obeying you is what we should do, Ainz-sama!”
  217. 「服从安兹大人的命令,才是我们应该做的事!」
  218.  
  219. “...Don’t you think it would be wrong to make her do something that goes against Peroroncino’s wishes? If my orders conflicted with Bukubukuchagama’s desires, how would you feel about obeying them, Aura?”
  220.  
  221. “Ng! Well, I, ah, I would…”
  222.  
  223. Aura nervously lowered her head, and muttered something along the lines of, “It’s hard to say.”
  224.  
  225. “All right, don’t worry about it. It was just a comparison. My reason for picking Shalltear this time around was to have her try everything and see if she has grown.”
  226.  
  227. “I see! That’s Ainz-sama for you, your insights run so deep!”
  228.  
  229. A superior had to let his subordinates experience challenges in order for them to grow.
  230.  
  231. This was one of the secrets he had gleaned from a book he had read not long after coming to this world.
  232.  
  233. The reason why he had not given Shalltear an opportunity like this until now was because the situation had been very dangerous, and also because there was no time for such things. Now, however… no, there would be no better chance than this..
  234.  
  235. “I’ll tell you the rest when Shalltear arrives. That way, I won’t have to explain myself twice.”
  236.  
  237. Just as Ainz said so, knocking came from the door, followed by Decrement going over to check on the visitor.
  238.  
  239. “It is Shalltear-sama.”
  240.  
  241. The person he was waiting for had arrived. Ainz indicated that Decrement should let her in.
  242.  
  243. As the door opened, he saw someone in the doorway.
  244.  
  245. “Shalltear Bloodfallen is ready to go!!”
  246.  
  247. Ainz — who was prepared to thank her for her coming all this way — froze up for a moment, and it took him a while before he could gather his wits and speak.
  248.  
  249. “Why… why are you in your full battle gear?”
  250.  
  251. Not only was she in her full plate, but she had even prepared her Spuit Lance.
  252.  
  253. “Yes!!! I am fully prepared to protect you, Ainz-sama!!!! I shall exterminate anyone who dares to oppose you, Ainz-sama!!!!!”
  254.  
  255. Ainz glanced at the panting Shalltear, her eyes wide open. Then, he glanced to Aura, as if to say, what should I do about this? It was not as though he could say Shalltear had gotten the wrong idea.
  256.  
  257. “Haaa~ you’re being too hasty. How about taking action after Ainz-sama finishes speaking?”
  258.  
  259. Shalltear pouted as Aura took a jab at her. Before the two of them could start quarrelling, Ainz raised his hand to get their attention.
  260.  
  261. “Shalltear. You might have the right idea, but things are different this time. Forgive me for not explaining things to you.”
  262.  
  263. Ainz hurriedly explained the objectives of this operation to Shalltear — and his plans to forge friendly relations with the Dwarven Kingdom.
  264.  
  265. A baffled look appeared on Shalltear’s face after she took it all in.
  266.  
  267. “If, if that’s what you want, is it really alright to bring me along?”
  268.  
  269. “...I have many reasons for choosing you. Having you protect me is one of them. But the greatest reason is so that you can gain experience. It is my one-sided opinion that you consider yourself unsuitable for this task due to your Blood Frenzy. Perhaps after you give it a try, you might discover that you are surprisingly suited for this sort of thing.”
  270.  
  271. Shalltear’s eyes went wide.
  272. 夏提雅瞪大了双眼。
  273.  
  274. “I understand, Ainz-sama!! I shall make sure you do not regret your decision!!”
  275. 「遵命,安兹大人!!属下绝对会让您看到不让您后悔的结果!!」
  276.  
  277. “...Umu. Then, Shalltear, I will be placing you under Aura’s command for this journey. Since Aura is in charge of you, I hope you will obey her.”
  278. 「……唔嗯。那么夏提雅啊,关于这件事就把你放在亚乌菈的指挥下。亚乌菈作为上司,你要服从她的命令来行动」
  279.  
  280. “Understood!!”
  281. 「遵命!!」
  282.  
  283. Shalltear bowed to him.
  284. 夏提雅低下头。
  285.  
  286. Ainz wondered if her response was too high-strung, but it was better than a dispirited answer. Still, it would be troublesome if it all turned out to be for nothing.
  287. 虽然觉得这会不会有点太过干劲十足啊,不过也总比无精打采的回答要来的好。不过要是白忙活一场就麻烦了。
  288.  
  289. “I appreciate your eagerness, but you should calm yourself down, Shalltear. ...Then, let us consider the matter of followers. Would it be better to bring others along?”
  290. 「虽然很欣赏你的热忱,不过该冷静下来了,夏提雅。……那么来考虑关于随员的事吧。你觉得带些什么人去比较好呢?」
  291.  
  292. “Ainz-sama -- may I be allowed to speak?”
  293. 「安兹大人——能允许我发言吗?」
  294.  
  295. Ainz was somewhat startled because the response had come from an unexpected quarter, but he coolly turned to face Decrement.
  296. 虽然从想象中不同的地方传来的声音让安兹稍微有些惊讶,不过他还是以冷静的态度向蒂克莉蔓望去。
  297.  
  298. “What is it? Is something the matter?”
  299. 「怎么了?有什么事吗?」
  300.  
  301. “Ah, I was wondering how you would feel about bringing some of us maids along to serve as your attendants. Traditionally speaking, those in power have always brought followers with them to handle miscellaneous tasks for them. I feel that the Dwarven Kingdom will think poorly of you if you do not bring handmaidens with you, Ainz-sama.”
  302. 「是,安兹大人前往矮人国度的队伍中,将我等中的几名女仆作为侍女一同带去如何。自古以来,上位者都会带着几名随从来照料身边琐事。我认为在安兹大人前往矮人的国家时,若是连侍女都没带的话有可能会让对方小看」
  303.  
  304. “I see. ...You do have a point there.”
  305. 「原来如此。……的确有道理呢」
  306.  
  307. While spying on Jircniv, he noticed that the man went out escorted by several carriages, and some of them contained well-dressed ladies. They must be the people who waited on him. If he had stayed in Nazarick back then, he would have observed him more carefully, but regrettably he had not, which was a bit of a shame.
  308. 从安兹偷看到的状况来看,吉克尼夫出行时也有着好几辆马车,其中也有着打扮过的女性。那恐怕就是来照料他起居的人吧。要是当时他留宿在纳萨力克的话,就能更加详细的进行调查,但最后也没有成功实在有些可惜。
  309.  
  310. No, the fact was that Jircniv had come a long way to visit Ainz, and Ainz had been terribly rude to Jircniv by not insisting that he stay the night. Granted, the man had firmly refused every offer of lodging Ainz had made, but perhaps the right thing to do was to make him change his mind. Perhaps if they had established good relations from that point onwards, the matter of vassalage might not have come up at the arena.
  311. 不对,说到底没有让特地从远方前来的人留下,就已经是有失礼数的事了。虽然不管这里怎么劝说「就留下来吧」他也坚决推辞掉,但说不定采取让他改变主意的行动才算是合乎礼节。
  312. 要是从那时开始就打好关系的话,说不定也不会发展到在竞技场提出成为属国的话题了吧。
  313.  
  314. Oops, I’m getting off-track… Decrement has a point, but--
  315. (喔唷,跑题了。……蒂克莉蔓所说的也的确有道理,不过——)
  316.  
  317. Ainz considered her stats. The 41 regular maids might look different, but their equipments and statistics were identical.
  318. 安兹想起她们的数据。四十一位一般女仆虽然外表看上去不同,但内在的数据和装备都是一样的。
  319.  
  320. The heteromorphic species known as Homunculi were not particularly outstanding, and they were very weak, being only level 1. While they were still superior to level 1 human beings in terms of stats, if it came down to a fight, a Homunculus would only have a 60% chance of victory.
  321. 人造人[Homunculus]这个异形种族并没有什么优异之处,而且因为等级只有一的缘故也很弱。虽然比起等级一的人类种来说能力值是比较高,但在双方战斗的情况下,人造人的胜率也就只有60%吧。
  322.  
  323. The maid uniforms they wore did provide them with a measure of defensive strength, but that was only on the level of a high-class item. Those might seem incredibly resilient to the inhabitants of these world, but they were nothing more than scraps of paper to a YGGDRASIL player.
  324. 装备品的女仆装倒是有一定的防御力,不过也只是上级而已。即使对这个世界的人来说很是强韧,但在YGGDRASIL玩家眼里简直与纸张无异。
  325.  
  326. Frankly speaking, there was no way he could bring them to the Dwarven Kingdom, given that he knew next to nothing about it. There was a chance that a player might be waiting with his forces deployed and ready for battle.
  327. 坦白来说,前往几乎毫无情报的矮人国度,而且还是个可能有玩家严阵以待的敌区,要把她们也带去是不可能的。
  328.  
  329. “Still… Unfortunately, I cannot do that. If we must have followers -- Shalltear, can I bring your Vampire Brides with us?”
  330. 「不过啊……很遗憾那是不可能的。若是需要侍者的话——夏提雅,可以让你旗下的吸血鬼新娘[Vampire Bride]同行吗?」
  331.  
  332. “There is no need to ask. Everyone in Nazarick serves you. You have but to order us.”
  333. 「您根本无须询问。纳萨力克所有人都是您的部下,您只需下令即可」
  334.  
  335. “Is that so. --Decrement, your proposal is very reasonable. However, it contains a problem, in that I am uneasy about your safety when travelling into unknown lands.”
  336. 「这样啊。——蒂克莉蔓啊,你的提案是非常理所当然的。但是有一个问题,前往未知之地的时候,考虑到弱小的你们的安全的话就相当令人不安」
  337.  
  338. “We are all prepared to face any form of danger!”
  339. 「对于有危险性我等早已做好了觉悟!」
  340.  
  341. Ainz raised a hand to calm Decrement down.
  342. 安兹稍微抬起手,让蒂克莉蔓不要激动。
  343.  
  344. “I am pleased by the fierce loyalty which you -- which you all show. Therefore, once I ensure that the Dwarven Kingdom is safe, I shall send for you via teleportation. Until then, what do you think about handing the matter to the Vampire Brides?”
  345. 「为了我而竭诚尽忠,你——你们的这份态度让我很是高兴。所以要是到了矮人国确认是安全的话,就用传送把你们叫来吧。在那之前就交给吸血鬼新娘她们怎么样?」
  346.  
  347. Decrement’s mouth moved several times, but no words came out. Eventually, she bowed her head. Ainz hoped that she was not agreeing because he had ordered her to, but that was most likely not the case.
  348. 虽然嘴巴动了几次却没有说出任何话,蒂克莉蔓低下了头。虽然希望她能不是因为安兹的命令而是打从心底感到认同,不过这大概很难吧。
  349.  
  350. Since he had nothing else to persuade her with, and he would not change his mind no matter what she said, Ainz turned his eyes from Decrement.
  351. 既然已经没有什么要说服她的话。而且不管她说什么也不打算改变主意,安兹把视线从蒂克莉蔓身上移开。
  352.  
  353. Resurrecting level 1 NPCs was cheap, but that was not the problem here.
  354. 等级一的NPC复活费用相当低廉,但问题并不在那里。
  355.  
  356. Nobody would bring their friends’ children into a dangerous place.
  357. 没有人会带朋友的小孩到觉得很危险的地方去。
  358.  
  359. “Then, Shalltear, bring -- let me see -- six of Vampire Brides along. Then add 30 more followers on top of that. Five of them will be the recently summoned Hanzos.”
  360. 「那么夏提雅,让吸血鬼新娘们——我想想,让六个人同行吧。其他的随从就大概找三十骑吧。其中五只就用我最近召唤的、叫作半藏的怪物吧」
  361.  
  362. There was no particular significance behind the number 30. It was simply that he felt that number would be sufficient. Perhaps it was because this was the amount of players allowed in a raid group?
  363. 三十这个数字其实并没有什么特别的依据。不过就是觉得有这个程度的人数就可以了而已。或许是因为玩家组成队伍的人数在脑中闪过的缘故吧。
  364.  
  365. “I’ll contact Cocytus while waiting for everyone to gather. Right, I should finish up first. Once everyone is assembled, the two of you will travel to the Lizardman village through Shalltear’s [Gate]. After that, we’ll head north to find the Dwarven Kingdom. What do you think?”
  366. 「聚集成员的同时向科赛特斯取得联络。对了,我先去把话谈完吧。你们两人在成员集合好后就用夏提雅的<传送门>到蜥蜴人的村子里来。在那之后,就进行北上探索矮人国度的的计划怎么样?」
  367.  
  368. “Understood!”
  369. 「遵命!」
  370.  
  371. “Yes, let’s do that.”
  372. 「是,就这么办吧」
  373.  
  374. The two Guardians replied in the affirmative. They did not suggest a better idea, which Ainz had hoped for. While the two of them were hardly yes-women, the fact that they had said exactly that in response to his suggestion made Ainz feel a little uneasy. This was because Ainz did not have much confidence in his own idea.
  375. 两名守护者给出赞成和同意的答复。她们并没能提出安兹所期待的、更好的主意。虽然并非说这两人是只会点头的人,但是对于提案只给出「是」的答案多少有些令人不安。这是因为安兹对自己的想法不是很有信心的缘故。
  376.  
  377. “Then, do you have any suggestions on who the other followers should be?”
  378. 「那么关于随从有什么提案吗?」
  379.  
  380. “My magical beasts--”
  381. 「我的魔兽的话——」
  382.  
  383. “My undead--”
  384. 「将我的不死者们——」
  385.  
  386. The two of them spoke up at the same time, and then glared at each other. Just as he thought they would start arguing, Shalltear looked away first.
  387. 两个人同时发出声音,互相以视线对抗。还以为会这样吵起来,但是先移开视线的是夏提雅。
  388.  
  389. “After you.”
  390. 「请吧」
  391.  
  392. “...What? Did you eat something weird?”
  393. 「……怎么了?没吃什么奇怪的东西吧?」
  394.  
  395. “It’s just that I was ordered to listen to you.”
  396. 「因为被命令说这次把你当成上司来服从啦」
  397.  
  398. “...It just feels gross.”
  399. 「……总感觉好恶心」
  400.  
  401. Shalltear’s eyebrow twitched, but she said nothing.
  402. 夏提雅的眉头稍微抽动了下,但她什么也没说。
  403.  
  404. “In that case, how about having 25 of your undead ride my magical beasts?”
  405. 「那样的话,你那里的二十五具不死者乘坐在我的魔兽上怎样?」
  406.  
  407. “I don’t mind --” Shalltear looked to Ainz “--But that would be more than the number you mentioned, Ainz-sama. Would that be all right?”
  408. 「我是没有异议——」夏提雅看向安兹「——可那样就会变得比安兹大人所说的数量还多了,真的可以吗?」
  409.  
  410. “It’s fine.”
  411. 「无妨」
  412.  
  413. “We’ll do that, then.”
  414. 「那就这么做吧」
  415.  
  416. Since the two of them seemed to have reached a consensus, Ainz continued speaking.
  417. 因为两人之间似乎已经达成共识,所以安兹就继续说了下去。
  418.  
  419. “Then, let’s get to work on our own accounts. I’ll give you two hours to select your members. Keep in mind that you may not be able to return for a while after leaving, and do not think that you can teleport back to Nazarick with teleportation magic. Aura, you need to be particularly careful about this as one of the living. If that’s all, let’s split up. I have a lot of things to discuss with Pandora’s Actor.”
  420. 「那么就各自开始行动吧。两个小时后选出成员并做好准备。要考虑到出去后就暂时回不来的情况进行准备,不想着只要用传送魔法就能回到纳萨力克。尤其是生者的亚乌菈要格外注意。那么就解散吧,我和潘多拉?亚克特有很多必须要先说下的事」
  421.  
  422. At the same time, he made a mental note to contact Albedo about this with a [Message].
  423. 同时也在心中的记事本上记下,必须要用<讯息>和雅儿贝德取得联络的这件事。
  424.  
  425. ***
  426.  
  427. “At last, the time has come!”
  428. 「终于、这个时刻终于来了!」
  429.  
  430. After she was sufficiently far away from that supreme being’s room that her voice would not reach it, Shalltear clenched her fists and shouted in joy.
  431. 在离开身为无上存在的那位大人的房间的稍远处、声音传达不到的地方,夏提雅紧握双拳如此喊道。
  432.  
  433. “It’s been so long… but at last, I can make up for my past failure and let everyone know that Shalltear Bloodfallen can be of use to everyone!”
  434. 「能够补偿那次的失败、并让大家知道夏提雅‧布拉德弗伦是有益的存在的机会终于是来了!真漫长啊……」
  435.  
  436. Shalltear gazed off into the distance.
  437. 夏提雅的眼神飘向远方。
  438.  
  439. Aura was quite aware of the feelings contained within Shalltear’s tone of voice, which was unusual for her. Although Shalltear had already been punished for her mistakes and Ainz-sama had personally told her that it was not her fault, Shalltear still wanted to erase the mistakes she had made. As a fellow Floor Guardian, Aura could understand her feelings very well. Still -- she was a little uneasy.
  440. 亚乌菈很清楚,她那平时不会用的说话方式里包含着怎样的感情。虽然已经对夏提雅那时的失态进行过处罚,而且安兹大人在王座之间也说过那不是她的失态。但即便如此她那想要抹消掉过错的心情,同样身为楼层守护者的亚乌菈非常能够理解。不过——有些不安。
  441.  
  442. “It’s been a long time coming… All the work I’ve been given until now has been so easy anyone could do it. However… However…”
  443. 「真是太漫长了啊……。接到一直都是任谁都可以办到的简单工作,不过……。不过……」
  444.  
  445. “Ah~ I feel that the work Ainz-sama gave you was very important, Shalltear.”
  446. 「啊—,我觉得安兹大人命令夏提雅做的,都是些很重要的工作喔」
  447.  
  448. “Well, it is as you say, to some extent. Still, was that work really important?”
  449. 「的确事情本身就像你说的一样呀。可是,工作有所谓的重要度喔」
  450.  
  451. “Protecting Nazarick is pretty important, no? After all, being the first line of defense against any invaders is a task you’d give to reliable Guardians, right?”
  452. 「我觉得保护纳萨力克可是相当重要的工作喔?因为所谓率先迎击侵入者的任务,比起其他工作来说更需要交给值得信赖的守护者对吧?」
  453.  
  454. “Nngg!”
  455.  
  456. Shalltear could not deny that.
  457. 「呜!」夏提雅无言以对。
  458.  
  459. Then, she nervously pressed her fingertips together and pulled them apart again.
  460. 然后接下来就一边扭扭捏捏的,把双手手指并拢又分开。
  461.  
  462. “Does Ainz-sama really think that way?”
  463. 「安兹大人真的是这样想的吗?」
  464.  
  465. “Mm~ probably. Ainz-sama said that you were very strong, Shalltear.”
  466. 「嗯—,大概吧。安兹大人有说过夏提雅非常强哦」
  467.  
  468. Shalltear was all smiles. That response let Aura sigh in relief. If things had gone otherwise, Shalltear would surely have gone to a lot of trouble for nothing and then made trouble for Ainz-sama. If that happened, she had no idea how she would apologize to Ainz-sama for it. In addition, she pitied Shalltear, who burdened herself with worries.
  469. 夏提雅露出了满面的笑容。而这个反应也让亚乌菈松了口气。照那样下去的话,这家伙绝对会白忙一场之后给安兹大人带来麻烦的。要是变成那样,可真不知道要怎么向安兹大人谢罪才好,而且考虑这么多的夏提雅也很可怜。
  470.  
  471. “But when I was in the human city, Demiurge singled me out. He must have felt I was useless. If that was what Demiurge -- the greatest mind of Nazarick -- thought about me, then wouldn’t the others, especially Ainz-sama -- whose wisdom surpasses that of Demiurge -- feel the same way?”
  472. 「可在人类都市的时候,迪米乌哥斯就只叮嘱了我一个人啊。是觉得我是没用的人吧。拥有纳萨力克最顶端的头脑的他都这样想的话,其他的人、尤其是拥有超越迪米乌哥斯的智慧的安兹大人,很有可能也是这么认为的吧?」
  473.  
  474. “Hm, you can’t really say that. Perhaps it’s because Ainz-sama is smarter than Demiurge that he felt that way about you.”
  475. 「嗯,这就不好说呢。说不定正因为超越了迪米乌哥斯,所以才没有对夏提雅抱持这样的看法吧」
  476.  
  477. In that moment, Shalltear moaned wetly with a “Ho…”
  478. 那一瞬间,夏提雅「嚯」的一声发出了湿润的吐息。
  479.  
  480. “As expected of Ainz-sama…”
  481. 「不愧是安兹大人……」
  482.  
  483. “...Haah.”
  484. 「…………哈」
  485.  
  486. Aura was starting to feel a little tired. However, she had the feeling that being direct with Shalltear would not work, so perhaps an indirect method would be effective.
  487. 亚乌菈稍微感到有点疲倦。但是感觉直接了当地对于没有余裕的她这么说也没什么效果,旁敲侧击的方法才有成果。
  488.  
  489. “Still, that means that the others feel the same way as Demiurge.”
  490. 「但也就是说,其他人想的和迪米乌哥斯一样啰」
  491.  
  492. “...I can’t deny that.”
  493. 「……这我可就没法否定了呢」
  494.  
  495. Or rather, that was definitely the case. Aura spoke up before the wide-eyed Shalltear could continue.
  496. 不如说,绝对是这样。亚乌菈比起瞪大了眼的夏提雅更快一步开口道。
  497.  
  498. “Ainz-sama wanted to test your flexibility by exposing you to various situations, so I think encountering difficulty isn’t a bad thing. Until then, if you take notes and learn from around you, you’ll be able to impress Ainz-sama and the others.”
  499. 「安兹大人是想让夏提雅接触不同的事情来调查适性喔,所以我觉得碰到困难也不是什么坏事,不过在那之前,好好学习的话更能让安兹大人和其他人感到赞叹喔」
  500.  
  501. “So I should study up before that?”
  502. 「在那之前先学习吗?」
  503.  
  504. “That’s right. Think about it, you’re travelling with the greatest person of all Nazarick, right? Doesn’t that mean you can learn something from Ainz-sama?”
  505. 「没错喔,你看像这次可是和纳萨力克最优秀的大人同行喔?不是可以从安兹大人的行动中学到些什么吗?」
  506.  
  507. “I see! ...But, what should I do?”
  508. 「原来如此!……但是,要怎么做才好呢?」
  509.  
  510. “Shalltear, that’s where the learning starts.”
  511. 「夏提雅,学习从那里就已经开始了喔」
  512.  
  513. “That - that’s right!”
  514. 「说!说得确实是呢!」
  515.  
  516. At a loss for words, Aura had simply thrown that question back to her.
  517.  
  518. That ought to be okay… right?
  519.  
  520. A flicker of unease passed through Aura’s heart. Still, the ball was in Shalltear’s court now, and there was nothing else she could do.
  521. 因为一时间想不出什么,所以就把问题整个丢过去了。不过也没关系吧,亚乌菈浮现出了一丝不安。不过丢都已经丢出去了,也就没有其他办法了吧。
  522.  
  523. Will she do something decent...
  524. (会去做一些正经的事的吧……)
  525.  
  526. Aura offered up a prayer to Bukubukuchagama, the Supreme Being who was also her god:
  527. 亚乌菈对既是无上至尊,又是她的神的泡泡茶壶献上祈祷。
  528.  
  529. Bukubukuchagama-sama, please watch over Shalltear, who was made by your little brother Peroroncino-sama!
  530. (泡泡茶壶大人,还请保佑由您弟弟、佩洛洛奇诺大人所创造的夏提雅吧!)
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