● Strategist Ainz ●
The stage was set at the north of the Belgaria Empire where Altina was situated―
The sky was covered in dark clouds.
Freezing gales chilled the air.
As the commander of the border regiment and princess, Altina came to welcome a certain person.
She harboured great expectations for this person. Coming from a commoner family with a low military rank, there was a rumour of a talented strategist being exiled to the borders. Maybe this person could become Altina's strategist.
Her current situation could be described with the term 'blockage'.
After being chased from the imperial capital by the nobles and becoming the commander of a border regiment, her subordinate general Jerome look down on her because she was a girl.
Although the soldiers held her in high regards and address her as princess... they also didn't treat her like a commander.
And the forces deployed to the fortress in the frontlines would not be enough to affect the empire.
This northern borders was just like a cage to Altina.
Because she had the wish to become the empress, she would need a strategist to advise her no matter what.
Although she needed one, she only heard about that person through rumours and had never seen him before; his character and capabilities were both unknown to her.
To get to know his character, Altina disguised herself as a wagon driver to pick him up.
Someone she had never seen before was standing in the middle of the streets.
With a book clutched in his chest, he was a gentle young man who won't even kill a fly-- Not. It was a man who was wearing a long robe and a mask for unknown reasons.
This man was the Overlord of Death, Ainz.
Altina who didn't know about this approached with a strange expression.
"Erm.. You are...?"
"...... My name is Ainz."
A heavy voice.
Maybe it was the mask, it sounded a bit muffled.
Altina thought, it can't be this guy right?
Maybe her doubtful expression was obvious, prompting Ainz to continue.
"Don't worry, this might sound unbelievable, but I have a good idea what we need to do."
"You are looking for a strategist right? The reason― well, let's not talk about this here."
He turned his gaze to the people walking in the streets.
Altina opened her eyes wide in surprise.
She heard he was good, but not this good!
"Were you really transferred here from the imperial capital?"
"Transferred... If you mean someone 'exiled from a world', that is probably true."
The wagon passed through the town of Tuonvell
"Just call me Altina."
Although no one around her addressed her this way, she still told him the nickname she liked very much.
He then surveyed the area with his mask own.
"... The scenery of this world looks about the same."
Both sides of the road was full of maize fields. As it was winter, the fields were all brown. The view was separated into two distinct colours with the grey evening sky above the horizon.
Passengers would normally sit in the back, but Altina was sitting in the center of the driving seat while Ainz sat to her right.
This was because it was easier to converse this way.
Even if she looked to the side, she couldn't see Ainz's expression that was covered under the strange mask that seem to be either angry or crying.
"I think the scenery is very different from the imperial capital... are you talking about your birth place?"
"The city I lived in was full of skyscrapers, you couldn't even see the horizon."
"Something like a tower. This place full of the scenery of nature is closer to... some other place."
"Erm... I heard normal people won't understand what smart people are talking about, so it's true."
"Well, I'm not lying."
A white shadow flashed before Altina's eyes.
It had started snowing.
"And so... we are rushing for time, so hang on tight and don't fall off!"
"I see, no problem."
Altina urged the horse to go faster.
At that moment, an accident happened― they skidded because of the snow, the wagon barely avoided toppling over...
However the horse sprained its leg.
Altina jumped down from the driver's seat, patting the head of the horse to soothe it.
"It will be difficult to carry on... It is possible to keep going... But if the leg injury worsens it might get put down."
"Really, I should had used 'Gate' from the start."
0% chance of failure with no distance limit. For Ainz who could used the highest level teleportation spell, meeting with such incidents was just a waste of time― He was just accompanying Altina to understand this world better.
There was no way Altina would know that...
Ainz alighted from the driver's seat.
He extended a hand from his black robes.
It looked like bones.
And it was not a replica. The skeletal hand holding a thin flask reached for the horse's right hind leg.
He poured the green liquid within the flask onto the injured area.
A white light that differs from the illumination of oil lamp or gas lamp enveloped the leg of the horse.
Altina rubbed her eyes.
Ainz had already withdrawn his hand into his robes.
"It's healed now."
Just like he said, the right hind leg that was obviously swollen had turned back to normal in an instant.
Altina agitatedly drew near to Ainz.
"What, what did you do!?"
"Nothing special. Just a low level healing potion. I can't use healing magic. The recovery amount might be low, but it will bring normal people and animals on the verge of death back to full health."
Ainz said that matter of factly and returned to the driving seat.
Altina couldn't understand what he did.
"It seems that doesn't exist in this world."
"It appears in stories... you, you really can use... magic?"
Altina stared at Ainz with a mix of fear and curiosity.
He said calmly as if he had lost his emotions.
"What I can use is... hmmm?"
Altina turned her head back.
With the wind getting stronger, the snow was turning into a blizzard. In this white fog of snow, a group of grey beast appeared.
The back of the girl shivered.
Five snarling wolves surrounded the wagon in a semicircle.
Ainz said nonchalantly.
"The animals are cute... it is about time to go right?"
"Wh, what are you saying!? Loup Gris are ferocious beast even a knight will have trouble with!"
"...... So what?"
Ainz didn't understand at all.
Altina said in frustration.
"We are about to be attacked!"
"I see! I didn't notice. In this world without magic and warrior skills, even wild animals can become a threat. Speaking of which, this appears to be the middle ages."
"Enough! Stop saying things I don't understand!"
"Alright, we can set off after disposing of these beast."
Altina who didn't understand what he was saying was dumbstruck.
Ainz who seemed rather frail swing his right hand casually.
A sudden dragon shaped lightning covered Ainz from his arm to his shoulders. It flew out from his straightened finger.
A loud bang as loud as thunder.
The largest wolf fell lifelessly to the ground and stopped moving.
With that bang, the wolves that saw its leader dead ran in panic.
Ainz withdrew his hand into his robes.
The threat was gone. No, it wasn't a threat to Ainz at all.
"Will this be enough?"
Altina charged to the driving seat with burning eyes and grabbed Ainz' robes.
"What have you done!"
She was obviously angry.
Ainz was puzzled.
After being saved from danger, she should be grateful, so why was she angry.
Did I mess up because I am not used to this world? Ainz thought―
His unease wasn't conveyed to Altina.
Ainz couldn't express himself through his face.
And he was wearing a mask.
Altina who was grabbing his robe stared deep into his eyes...
The eyes behind the mask― were so dark it seemed to be bottomless. As expected, he was not human. Even so, it didn't faze the spirited girl.
"You are strong."
"I don't really get it, but if you use that magic, you won't have to worry about the wolves taking your life right!?"
"... That is so."
"Then, do you have to kill it?"
"What strange words, Loup Gris will attack people. That means they are harmful creatures. For the soldiers protecting this land, lessening their numbers should be a good thing correct?"
"Loup Gris might attack people, but they also hunt animals that damage the fields. If there are no beasts in the forest, it will become a haven for criminals."
"It's just one wolf..."
"Most importantly, it's so pitiful! This is the habitat of the wild beast you understand? Paving a road and cultivating the field is just us borrowing the land. It would be fine if it is in the towns or villages, but don't kill indiscriminately on the roads!"
Ainz thought about it.
He got what she meant.
Her thinking wasn't illogical.
In order to accomplish his mission here and return to his original world― where the Great Tomb of Nazarick was. He can't let Altina shun him.
Ainz wanted pull Altina away from his robes.
"You can't understand this logic!?"
The warrior of the highest level in the DMMO-RPG YGGDRASIL could pulverise a city wall with a punch. Even the relatively weaker Ainz could lift a carriage with one hand.
Altina seemed stronger than most girls, but Ainz should be stronger.
However, he couldn't pull the hand grabbing his robes away.
"... I understand how you feel, I will use my offensive magic carefully from now on."
The people and creatures in this world were too weak.
He might kill them accidentally even with the lowest level magic in his arsenal.
To smoothen the process he has to watch himself.
He doesn't like to waste mana anyway.
Altina released Ainz' robes.
And suddenly smiled.
"Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for saving me."
So far, Ainz only felt her features was straight, and didn't have the chance to judge her beauty―
Even Ainz who had lost almost all his human emotions could tell that Altina's smile was really charming.
Of course, in terms of style and perfection, she couldn't compare to the NPC Albedo made painstakingly by a member of his guild.
He wasn't referring to that kind of beauty, but the energetic smile that shone brightly.
She tilted her head.
"Hmm? Is something the matter?"
"...No, there is no problems. Let us be off."
After getting Ainz' response, she sat beside Ainz and held the reigns.
She shouted and pulled the reigns, and the horse that was shocked by the lightning and Loup Gris started walking slowly.
The wheels of the wagon made rolling sounds again.
"Speaking of which― Magic is awesome! Strong and convenient. Just like a cannon!"
"... I don't know how powerful the cannons of this world are, but it definitely can't compare to nuclear weapons. Even the highest tier magic couldn't compare with it.
"Nuclear? I don't get what you mean. Where did you learn magic Ainz? You have a teacher?"
Ainz remembered the members in his guild.
Teaching each other skills and exchanging information as they grind large amount of experience points.
"...... They are no longer around."
"I see... Sorry for asking that."
"Please don't mind, it is all in the past."
"Can I use magic too?"
"If you have a magic caster type job, you will learn it in no time if you keep earning experience points...But you have a warrior type face."
"Wait...!? Learning magic depends on your face!?"
Ainz was just kidding but Altina seemed to be taking it seriously.
Magic doesn't exist in this world, Altina who was part of this world probably can't use magic.
"That isn't so... But Altina is one of those direct types who will act before you think right?"
"How rude. I think I am the cautious type who thinks before I act."
"From our interaction earlier, how are you cautious? You saw that lightning and still grabbed my robes without thinking."
It actually made him wonder if she was mentally normal.
She was totally the type that didn't consider the consequences.
"But that's why you need a strategist..."
"How did you know that?"
"Of course I know. That's why I came to this world."
"So... You know my objective too...?"
Altina had a face of unease.
This was top level secret.
"I didn't hear about that... But I can guess what it is. Definitely not looking for someone to play chess with."
It wasn't clear if she did so out of relief or disappointment.
"... Is that knowledge related to magic?"
"Even if I explain, you who are from this world won't understand. More importantly, I will help you, just rely on me― but things will different if you reject."
"It's fine. My objective is to liberate the citizens from tyrannical rule. To achieve that I want to become empress!"
"No problem― I am not sure if making you empress will liberate the people though."
Ainz kept his promise.
He avoided casting offensive spells freely.
The base of the Beilschmidt Border Regiment Altina was in command of.
However, it was an empty title of commander as the entire regiment was under General Jerome's management.
The fourteen year old princess Altina was just a decoration that needed to be protected.
Ainz turned his head.
"It would be easy for me to defeat General Jerome... But it would be difficult for others to acknowledge Altina as the commander that way."
"Ea, easy? He might look like that, but Sir Jerome is very strong."
"Indeed, his physical ability and combat experience is near the upper limit of a warrior. But I am confident that without equipment and items, it wouldn't even be a contest. If both sides reach the upper level limits, the rest will be dependent on the strength and effects of buffing spells."
"He is as good as naked while I am fully armed. If I lose under such conditions, I won't be fit to be a guild master."
Ainz also have top class passive skill that nullifies physical attacks.
The ability to negate low level weapon and magic attacks.
Even if the user had excellent skill, he won't be able to harm Ainz with the weapons of this world.
"His mental strength seems strong. Charming spells will be a bit... and the period of effect isn't long. Let's use support magic."
Ainz stood up and cast spells on Altina.
Physical defence increase.
Envelope in a mysterious glow, Altina's face looked troubled.
"Erm... I was thinking, if that is the case... I should use my own power..."
"Since you employed me as a strategist and your subordinate, you should view my magic as your own power. Or do you want to reject my assistance entirely?"
Altina showed a troubled expression.
"Ermmm... is that really fine?"
"It will be alright. And with the vast difference in prowess, it is less likely for the other party to get injured."
And just like Ainz predicted, the fight was finished in an instant before the stupefied crowd.
After being buffed by high level enchantment from Ainz, Altina was strong on a totally different level.
She made Jerome groan in pain with just one hit.
"Ugh... how could it be? That is impossible for humans!"
"Yes you are right. My magic can not be emulated by humans. Well, due to some reason, I can't use lethal spells on people."
In the parade square before Fort Sierk—
Ainz placed his hand on the victorious Altina and declared:
"I have decided to assist this person on her road towards domination. If the soldiers are willing to help us, you are welcome to. If not, please leave the fort."
"Don't say anyone could leave as they pleased, Ainz."
"Hmm? But there is no point in letting people who will affect our unity stay."
In the end, as far as fighting forces were concerned, the numbers of normal soldiers don't matter.
Altina raised her sword high.
"Anyway, I am the commander of this border regiment!"
"Ku... It can't be helped. Since I lost, I will acknowledge you. Even if you won using dubious magic!"
Suddenly, the bell signalling an enemy attack sounded.
The ones attacking Fort Sierk under the cover of the blizzard were the barbarians.
They were few in numbers, but proficient in sneak attacks.
Ainz stood on top of the fortress wall.
Altina and Jerome were by his side.
"What should we do? We can't charge out and fight them at this distance."
They discovered them too late, resulting in the barbarians had reaching the walls and firing arrows in.
With Ainz magic, the arrows were deflected by an invisible wall, so the area was safe.
"Hmmp, can't you do anything with that dubious magic of yours?"
"Well... If this goes on, we will lose a lot of soldiers, but I want to avoid killing the barbarians."
Altina said with a resigned expression.
Jerome responded unhappily.
"Nonsense! We should kill all the barbarians!"
Since Ainz was acting as the princess' subordinate, what Altina said took priority.
With the barbarian group as the target.
"I will avoid killing them then."
Within a designated boundary, he shook the ground with the impact of an earthquake.
They probably never experienced earthquakes before and fell into chaos.
They scampered away in twos and threes.
Jerome and the soldiers laughed at this sight, but Altina looked uneasy.
"Is it fine for us to do that...?"
"Well done, what's next?"
When they heard Altina employed a powerful strategist, the imperial capital sent them the order to attack Fort Volks.
Although it was faster for Ainz to go alone—
An inspector also tagged along, so they had to bring half the unit for the expedition.
After seeing the steep cliffs and the cannon platform, she sighed.
"It will be hard to attack the fort. It lives up to the name of invulnerable fortress Volks— although I just heard about it from Jerome yesterday."
"If destroying it is fine, just one..."
"If you do that, wouldn't it cause massive casualties?"
"Hmm. And we need to use it as a base after taking the fort. Let us go about it normally, I will hang the flag at the cannon platform about an hour later. Launch the attack then— it should be conquered by then."
"Wait...!? I, I will go too!"
"Just bringing one more person is fine, I will cast high tier physical attack negation magic."
After Ainz finished chanting, a white light enveloped Altina's body.
He then waved his hand lightly.
They suddenly appeared in the office of the commander of Fort Volks.
Their meeting on the measures to take against Belgaria's attack was in progress.
The hot blooded young knight— Zechmeister drew his sword.
"Who are you!?"
He shouted as he thrust his blade over.
It hit Ainz' body, which made Altina screamed.
Even the blade made from the latest steel technology won't have magic effects. Naturally, its damage was negated.
It was pressuring to fight without killing low level enemies.
"Well, I can only do this under such restraints."
Ainz used a 'Harden' spell to turn Zechmeister into a statue.
The enemy staff officers screamed.
Among them was an elderly man in uniform taking a stance with a steel staff.
His hair was turning white, but his eyes remained sharp.
"I am the commander of Fort Volks from the Varden Duchy."
"I am the commander of the Beilschmidt border regiment from Belgaria, Marie Quatre Argentina!"
"Hmmp. I heard reports of Belgaria hired a demon king and dismissed it as a joke... So it's true."
"I'm not a demon king. I just know some magic."
Altina raised her sword.
And of course, because of the buffs from all sort of support spells, she emerged victorious easily.
The rest of the soldiers was hit by Ainz' 'Mass Paralysis' and couldn't move.
They took Fort Volks much earlier than expected.
Ainz took out a staff with a strange aura from his robes.
"Where to next? No, it's a bother fighting these skirmishes. Let's take down the Imperial Capital straight away."
"Hmm!? But the first army is..."
"1st army or 2nd army, they are not a problem for me. Come, let's go!"
After taking down the Imperial Capital of Belgaria, Altina became the new empress.
Be it the nobles, commoners, and even foreign nations, everyone feared the new empress who gained the power of a demon king—
"Ughhh... No, you can't... Altina!"
Regis yelled as he raised his head.
The girl chopped him on the head with her hand.
"You are the one who can't! If you want to sleep, do it on your bed. You'll catch a cold!!"
Seemed like Regis fell asleep reading a book. Because he slept in a weird position, his back hurts.
"Hah... I had a weird dream."
"Are you okay? We will be leaving for the capital tomorrow right?"
"Ahh, I made the preparations. Well, there is no one it could be that easy..."
There are all sorts of problems piled up in the capital, and it seemed that a powerful being that could solve everything with magic didn't show up.
Although he felt disheartened, he was relieved at the same time...
Altina wore her coat with a wry smile.
"What did you dream about?"
"... It seemed to be a dream of you becoming empress with the help of magic from a demon king."
"Ara, sounds interesting. What did the magic achieve?"
Altina said as she offered him a cup of warm milk.
Regis took the cup and showed the black book jacket of the story he finished recently.
"It's powerful, enough to change the world... This book is called 'Overlord'—"
—Written by Author of Altina, Yukiya Murasak
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