Chapter 1 New World

He had… really died.

He mentally sighed, as darkness consumed him fully. One moment he had been in the Throne room with Momonga and the NPCs, waiting for the clock to reach midnight, for Yggdrasil to disappear, and the next… well, Harry had really ceased to exist in that reality.

To be honest, he had been hopelessly wishing that something would happen. That the end wouldn't really be, that perhaps…

Well, nothing but wishful thinking, apparently. At least it was painless and fast, just like a good old Killing Curse would have been, which meant that he wouldn't be in this dark limbo for too long.

As if summoned by that small, positive thought, Harry was finally transported to whatever random world would be his new home, darkness slowly dissipating as his surroundings started to gain shape, lights, and colors.

He had a sense of deja-vu as he eyed the green clearance. Hadn't he arrived in a similar place in Yggdrasil? It was bright and peaceful, birds chirping merrily and harmless grass hugging his lying form. With a cloudless blue sky right above him, it was the perfect picture of a good day.

Harry sighed as the familiar tingle of exhaustion traveled over suddenly sore muscles. World traveling always made him feel tired and — wait a minute.

Abruptly sitting down, he rolled his shoulders experimentally, surprised to feel the usual lethargy fade away as if it never was. He could feel his magical core latching at the magic on his environment, making up for the loss the travel to a new world always caused.

This is what had happened when he first arrived at Yggdrasil, back then.

Harry quickly stood up, examining this new environment with renewed interest. He didn't recognize the place, but the magic surrounding him was as vast as the one that had been present in Yggdrasil.

Looking down at himself, he was happily surprised to discover that his robe was exactly the same one he had been wearing back in the Throne room. Usually, after world-traveling, Harry would always wake up wearing something that could be considered "usual" in the new world. For example, if the world's inhabitants had nothing but brown dresses then he would wake up wearing one. It was Death's way of helping Harry blend in with his surroundings, a small help that had kept him from getting into trouble as soon as he arrived.

He had stumbled upon cultures that considered any sort of white clothing blasphemous, some that didn't really have the same spectrum of colors, some that used rigid materials instead of soft ones, some that had tattooed symbols cover the body instead of any kind of material; that sort of thing. So, for him to still be wearing Yggdrasil's clothes…

It must mean that this world is similar.

Harry grinned. May be this wouldn't be so bad then. It would be nice to be able to adapt quickly, for once, and maybe he wouldn't need to perform so many experiments in this one if he could still use the results he had gathered in his previous life! If he and Jarvis—

…ah.

Right, his NPC wasn't… here. Nor was Momonga, or Jald, or anyone. He was alone.

Harry's excitement died down, a heavy weight sitting in his stomach as nostalgia and sadness consumed him. They had been together for such a short time, just a little more than a decade, and there was just so much potential there left uncovered…

Harry had wanted to discover how he was able to live in a "videogame". He had wanted to convince Jald to present him a few other MOB creatures he was in good terms with. He had wanted to continue to hunt with Momonga until the overlord was finally willing to accept new people into their guild, accepting the fact that their old friends weren't coming back. He had wanted to witness the NPCs moving and talking on their own accord, they had been so, so close to that on the last day!

Harry smiled sadly to himself, shaking his head negatively as if to dispel those thoughts. There was nothing he could do to change things. At least he had been able to bid farewell to everyone, let them know he appreciated—

Shit. Oh no, no, no!

He didn't visit Pandora!

He was supposed to go to the Treasury right after the 9th floor, but Jarvis hadn't been at his post, so he had gotten sidetracked and gone to the 10th to try to find him, and then Herohero had arrived and shit, it totally slipped his mind—

The first words Harry uttered in the new world were nothing but a cacophony of curses, which scared off the birds that had been chirping nearby.

So much for a good start.

(X)

Five years down the road, Harry wasn't any closer to understanding what the bloody hell had happened.

This world had Yggdrasil's spells, items, races, and skills. Harry had access to his freaking inventory— which had nothing but data crystals since the rest was in his bag— and he was pretty sure the Eight Greed Kings and the Evil Deities had been players.

Actually, there were traces of players here and there, scattered among items, legends, religions, and spells. According to what he had learned so far, most of these perhaps-players hadn't cared much about the destruction of the countries around them, so Harry was quite surprised by the fact that he had woken up in a continent that still had human nations.

…which were a bloody mess, but at least they still managed to survive, despite being at a major disadvantage in terms of physical strength, skills, and longevity. In his head, Harry silently gave them brownie points for that.

The Re-estize Kingdom was collapsing from the inside, not only because it was divided in an absurd "Nobles vs Royalty" unspoken war, but mostly because its corruption was much too engrained in too many key places. No matter how Harry looked at it, that Nation was destined to fall, and the annual fights with the Empire were only quickening the process.

Speaking of, the Empire had gone through a very bloody "cleansing" of nobles and high-up positions close to the Imperial family, and it seemed to be evolving in too many areas much too fast— although it seemed for the better? Only time would tell.

The Theocracy were a bunch of higher-than-thou individuals that pretty much hated anything that wasn't human — what they were doing to the dark elves honestly made Harry cringe, although it wasn't like their own Elf king was any better — and acted accordingly to exterminate those it considered threatening for the human race. Which meant, well, all demi-humans and heteromorphs. It was race-discrimination at its finest.

And lastly, the Roble Holy Kingdom was just this side of painfully moral people… the kind that would sacrifice a thousand lives to save a single child, because it was "the right thing to do". Harry wasn't a fan of the "for the greater good" phrase, but damn, even he knew better.

In summary, he wasn't the biggest fan of the human nations.

Thus, Harry had decided to learn about this world in his own terms, keeping an alliance — if it could be called that — with several different tribes, no matter their races.

The first alliance he made was with the demi-humans that inhabited the Abelion hills, which was the place he had woken up at. It consisted mostly in an exchange of food for information, and they helped him draw a comparison on their cultures versus the human ones. Besides, it was close to the Holy Kingdom, so whenever Harry needed to purchase something, or gather information on how humanity was doing, all he had to do was infiltrate the country's Great Wall and chat with whoever was amiable enough — or drunk enough — to talk with a total stranger in a bar.

Most importantly though, the Abelion Alliance helped him make a network of sorts. Demi-humans migrated, quite frequently, depending on the weather, the mating season, the cultural ceremonies, the hunting trips… they covered quite a lot of ground, which helped him get wind of rumors or gossip regarding any powerful individuals that were around.

Harry was hoping that, sometime in the future, Momonga may land in this world too. He didn't let his hopes get too high, considering the timing between players appearing seemed to be on the "every 200 years" scale— but hey, Harry wasn't going to die before this world did. He should be able to cross paths with him again at some point down the road.

So far, his investigation on "strong individuals" was disappointing, considering this new world had a very different view on what it considered strong. Gazef Stronoff wasn't. Fluder wasn't. The vampire Landfall— no, she was going by Evileye — wasn't. The Theocracy's scriptures were better, but nothing particularly noteworthy. The Dragon Lords probably were on the 90's at least, but… yeah, he wasn't particularly interested in dragons, he was searching for an overlord.

Knowing Momonga, he would be cautious and stick to human and demi-human nations as he tried to comprehend what the hell had happened. He would probably parade as human, thus, that was exactly what he was searching for.

It would probably take a while though, if it ever happened. So, in the meantime, he had decided to—

"Harry-sama?" A male voice interrupted his line of thought, and Harry sighed and turned to look at the source begrudgingly.

"I've told you; drop the title. What's up, Vijar?" Harry reprimanded not for the first time. He had —accidentally — united the different races of demi-humans in the Abelion hills under his leadership, and they had gone and decided to add fancy titles to his name when addressing him. Nothing he did or said could convince them to drop it, much to his exasperation.

The male demi-human lowered his gaze to the ground and growled. Vijar was from the Zoastia race, his upper body resembled that of a light-grey, furred saber-tooth tiger, so the sounds he made were often a mix of growls, hisses, and purrs.

"Nothing good," Vijar replied somberly, upper lip curling to reveal sharp teeth. He seemed to be trying to stop himself from angrily hissing the words, "a few more have disappeared."

Harry inwardly groaned.

He had taken a small trip to explore the Azerlisia Mountains — the dwarves he found there were great, actually — and had been away for several months, having returned to the hills just recently and, honestly, why did such a thing happen as soon as he left the hills?

Something had begun kidnapping demi-humans left and right. Whoever was behind it didn't seem to have any preference for race, gender, or age, so they had been unable to anticipate the attacks or defend themselves on their own.

It wasn't like these races of demi-humans mourned their dead though. They were quite apathic on the whole affair, so Harry didn't feel particularly bad for their loss. The only reason the matter had been brought up to him was because the number of kidnappings was too large to ignore, and it was starting to affect their overall strength as a group.

"Damn… alright, do you know how many? And which race?"

"Around three snakemen, five zoastia, and eight bafolk."

All in a single attack?

"That many? And nobody noticed?" Harry couldn't help but ask, which earned him a growl from Vijar.

"Whoever is taking them must specialize in stealth. No screams, no signs of an attack or any kind of struggle, they just suddenly disappear."

"Ah, I'm… sorry to hear that," Harry nodded somberly, but Vijar only grunted in response. The male had come seeking help, not 'useless sentiment' as they called it. Harry internally sighed and continued, "I'll place some recognition wards around— um, that is, magic that will let me know if anything of another race trespasses the territory. I'll catch them next time and interrogate them to reach the root cause. Can you ask the other representatives to not leave the designed area?" Harry requested while passing a hand through his hair, unconsciously ruffling it. He wouldn't notice the kidnappings if they occurred out of the ward's range, after all.

Vijar let out a disgruntled hiss — he always did that when Harry tried to explain his magic, he supposed it was meant to denote confusion? — looking at him grimly before nodding his agreement and turning to leave.

Kind of rude, leaving without another word, but Vijar was still among the most tolerable representatives.

There was a representative for each race of the demi-human alliance, but Harry rarely bothered to meet with them. There were some races that were kind of barbaric, so he didn't really approach them if it wasn't completely necessary. Ugh, the things some of them did was… no. Just no. Better ignore their presence for the most part.

Honestly, Harry was seriously considering making the Dwarf Kingdom his new main base. The dwarves were great, had a unique job class called Runic Blacksmith that hadn't existed in Yggdrasil, were good sources of information, had decent alcoholic drinks, and most importantly: didn't have humans in their diet. Not like the demi-human alliance had hunted any people since Harry's arrival, and not all of them made him feel uncomfortable, but still. It was the principle of the thing.

And really, what would happen if he left? He could still come by from time to time to get some info and, subsequently, extend his established network. And sure, the Holy Kingdom would start to be attacked again by the demi-humans once he left, but they had defended themselves just fine with the Great Wall before.

Yeah, decided. As soon as this whole kidnapping issue was resolved, he was going to leave.

(x)

A couple of weeks after Harry's return to the hills, a few creatures — the life signature was that of shadow demons — trespassed his wards.

No wonder they couldn't do anything to defend themselves. The demons were level 30 — which was considered strong in this world — and were not only stealthy, but also immune to low-level physical attacks. Even if the demi-humans had somehow managed to locate them, they wouldn't have been able to stop the kidnappings.

There were three… four? Only four. Alright, this should be quick enough.

Harry summoned the elder wand, waving it over his head to change his appearance, so he had short, straight blond hair, blue eyes, a rounder face, and freckles. He changed his voice to a different pitch, humming to himself to double-check it was alright before waving at his clothes, changing the outer design of his robes so it still had the same high-stats but didn't look like it usually did.

After all, whoever was ordering the shadow demons was, most likely, a demon too, and those tended to have very long lifespans. Harry would rather not gain any unnecessary enemies from this small endeavor, but if that was inevitable, then at least they wouldn't know what he usually looked like.

Preparations done, Harry pointed his wand to the ground, focused on the slithering presence of the shadow demons, and casted a silent Inmobilus.

The four entities were frozen at once.

When enemies were within his wards range, Harry could transfer his magic to several individuals at once, distance and quantity rendered irrelevant. Within his territory, it would be accurate to say that any battle was over before it even started, really.

Locating the one closest to him, Harry turned on his heel and apparated right over the frozen shadow demon, the wand's tip still pointing to the ground.

Imperio.

Harry silently ordered it to come out. It was as if something two dimensional had gained a third dimension, as the humanoid figure with bat wings stretched from the ground, sharp claws curling harmlessly at its sides. The figure was pitch black, as if created from darkness itself, the only patch of color being the glowing yellow eyes.

It was the first time Harry encountered one of these in this new world, but the creature really seemed to be the same as the one from Yggdrasil.

Meeting the yellow gaze of the creature, Harry used legilimency to navigate through its memories. He needed to find out about the number of demons, their boss, if the taken demi-humans were still alive, and if yes, then where they were being kept? What was the reason for taken them in the first place?

A few minutes later Harry inwardly cursed, frustrated.

The shadow demon didn't know shit. It didn't have any lasting memories, as if it had spawned just this morning, and his instructions were to "take four Abelion sheep and bring them to the farm," but there was no picture of how the farm looked like or where it was located, as if the shadow demon had never been there before.

Hell, the bloody thing didn't even know who it reported to. The shadow demon simply labeled them as the "summoner", and apparently hadn't bothered to look directly at them, not even once. All Harry could see in its memory was the place where it was first summoned, some sort of forest.

And nothing else.

"Useless piece of— ugh. I really didn't want to do this," Harry complained under his breath, massaging the bridge of his nose. Playing victim was troublesome and time consuming, but it seemed like he didn't have much of a choice.

If its instruction was to take any creature from the Abelion hills, then kidnapping a "human" among demi-humans was probably still within the order's criteria. Harry just needed to make himself look weaker, to fit in.

He took a deep breath, trying to call in his magical aura. Lower, lower… no, he probably still had the presence of a Level 60 thing. Ugh, come on, just a bit more… was Level 30 too much? What if these shadow demons were the strongest summons of… whoever the boss was?

Actually, that would be good. If Harry was perceived as strong — but not too strong as to be invincible — then they would have to try to either outnumber him or have the demon boss personally take care of him.

Yeah, parading as a Level 30-ish human should work.

Casting an Obliviate to the ground so the four demons would forget they were ever frozen, he released them from his immobilizing curse, and allowed the still mind-controlled demon to wrap him in as one of its victims.

Follow your original orders.

The Imperio-ed shadow demon moved to catch another three beings, while Harry made himself comfortable in the space within. It was dark, warm, and surprisingly cozy, so much so that he was mildly tempted to take a nap. Harry had no way of knowing anyone low-level would suffer in agony while being kept inside a shadow demon, dark tendrils clawing at the prisoner's soul.

Blissfully unaffected, Harry hummed and closed his eyes. He still had his ring equipped, so sleep and food were unnecessary, but he liked to indulge in it from time to time. Right now wasn't prudent but, perhaps after this whole business was wrapped up, Harry would keep a single shadow demon around so he could use it to take naps in the future.

Wriggling to get more comfortable, Harry let out a satisfied sigh as the shadows wrapped around him like a warm blanket.

At least something good would come from this bothersome task.

(X)

Demiurge listened attentively to the report of the Evil Lord Wrath.

One of the shadow demons that had been sent to gather more, ah, Abelion sheep, for the production of scrolls wasn't responding to the summoner's mental link. The other three seemed unaffected, replying to small inquiries without issue, but the fourth was oddly unable to. The link seemed to be partially severed.

Could this be some sort of incomplete brainwashing? Considering the ones that brainwashed Shalltear were still out there; it wasn't impossible.

"Are they still linked to each other?" Demiurge asked after a brief pause, satisfied when he saw Wrath reply affirmatively, "in that case, make them report what they hunted before they're sent to the farm."

The Evil Lord nodded, mentally relying the order to his summons.

"The silent one has one human and three Stone Eaters," Wrath said after a moment of silence, as he received the reports from the still functioning links, "they say the silent one is following at the back. It probably doesn't know how to reach the farm on its own, now that its link with me is unresponsive."

Then, the shadow demon was still trying to follow orders, even after the link was disconnected. And a human, of all things? Peculiar. Those stopped going out of the Great Wall after 40 or so people had been taken, finally noticing something was amiss. Demiurge hadn't really minded, since the scrolls worked the same regardless of whether they used demi-human or human skin, but for one to suddenly be captured…

"A human. Hadn't the prisoners mentioned one is the leader of their alliance?" It was always the same threat, every time a new Abelion sheep arrived at the farm. Always exclaiming how they were going to regret taking them away, since their leader was oh so very strong and surely would do something about it.

It was obvious their leader had to be stronger than them, since that was the only way to unite such a variety of demi-human tribes without having them rebelling every other week. It had to be someone that could overpower them one-sidedly, completely invincible by their terms.

Among humanity, wisdom and wealth would qualify as a form of strength, but the demi-human races only appreciated raw power. That said, no one in those hills surpassed the Level 15, so Demiurge was only mildly curious.

He had been thinking about using that alliance as his own, to accomplish Ainz-sama's order of creating a "Demon King" character. Attacking the Holy Kingdom would surely be enough to accomplish said feat, and the demi-humans were known for their infamy already. Usurping the leader's place should be the most efficient way to—

"A human leader? Well, yes, but every time one is questioned the description of said leader changes," Wrath grumbled, the fire on his wings growing darker and hotter with apparent frustration. Demiurge hummed in agreement.

It couldn't be helped. In the same way a human would be hard-pressed to distinguish between two orcs, the demi-humans had issues trying to tell apart from two humans, even when they looked completely different from each other. Thus, the description of their leader was different depending on the race's perception.

The Snakemen would assure that their human leader was very short, almost like a beardless dwarf, while the Stone Eaters would say the human was a bright giant, with so much magic surrounding him that it was impossible not be blinded by it. The centaurs claimed that he was almost as old as time itself, while the Naga stated he was painfully young and full of wonder.

All in all, nothing they said could be trusted. It would have been easier if they had provided any sort of name, but alas, they had some sort of curse on them that made them lose their voice when they tried to utter it.

This wasn't important in the grand scheme of things, and probably investing his limited time dealing with this rare circumstance was pointless. Still, Demiurge couldn't afford to ignore the uncertainty. Having a summon brainwashed now of all times was too much of a coincidence, and there was no minimum level required to be able to use a World item. Thus, even if it was weak…

"Send them to Aura's Fortress instead of the farm, I'll let her know we're getting a temporary guest," Demiurge ordered at last, metallic tail tapping his ankle a couple of times in a pensive manner.

The probability of being Shalltear's brainwasher was very, very low. Alas, the World Items of the Treasury had disappeared when they left Yggdrasil — a matter that really concerned Ainz-sama, and rightly so — and his orders on the subject were clear.

Be overly cautious, don't underestimate the opponent. Think the worst-case scenario is the one most likely and prepare accordingly to ensure Nazarick's safety and growth.

Going to such lengths for this particular case was probably unnecessary, but he couldn't afford to be caught unaware. If he made a mistake—

No. No, mistakes could not be tolerated. Even more so if one considered the Floor Guardians' dark record.

Despite having received direct orders; Shalltear and Cocytus had committed mistakes one after the other. If this continued, the abilities of the Guardians and of the other members created by the Supreme Beings would be questioned. Of course, his master showed no displeasure at their failures, and Cocytus' in particular seemed to have been part of the plan, but they couldn't continue relying on his goodwill.

Demiurge still wondered if… the Treasury's mishap could be attributed to Pandora's Actor. Was that considered a failure as well? He wasn't sure. Neither Ainz-sama nor Pandora seemed to act like it was, at least.

Alas, that didn't change what he needed to do— what all the Guardians needed to do. They needed to demonstrate their usefulness by succeeding in their tasks. Was there any use for stupid subordinates who were unable to carry out their duties in a satisfactory way? And if the last of the Supreme Beings were to disappear due to disappointment...

Demiurge froze in fear just thinking about this.

No. Even with something as small as this, failure was not an option.

(X)

That took longer than expected.

Harry's control over the shadow demon must have been perceived somehow, because he was the only one dropped in the spacious wooden room. Kind of rudimentary, but very well done by this world's standards, so Harry could tell that whoever had worked on this had seriously made an effort.

He didn't sense anyone around, other than the shadow demon that had dropped him. The other three — that had been leading Harry's controlled fiend — had narrowed their eyes at him almost accusingly before scurrying away. The jerks.

Internally sighing, he decided to test the waters, and mentally ordered the controlled shadow demon to return to the hills. The creature's yellow eyes blinked a few times — acknowledgement, perhaps? — before it tried to slither out to follow his order. Tried being the keyword.

Harry felt it perish as soon as it was out of the room — there went his new favorite nap place, he silently lamented — which was, most likely, due to the summon being dispelled. There was still no one around, so it couldn't have been killed.

Alright, so a shadow demon wasn't particularly strong or valuable, if they were disposing of it so fast… then it should be fine to up his levels a bit. Perhaps a 60-ish output would do?

Slowly increasing his magical aura, he stood still and focused on analyzing his surroundings. From what he could see, there were no defensive spells of any kind placed over the building, which meant that this location was little more than a paper house in terms of resistance. Were the demons unable to reinforce this place? Was that the reason Harry was taken here? Perhaps it would be similar to his deal with Jald, and they were seeking protection.

"…anyone there?" Harry asked out loud, receiving nothing but silence. Well, he couldn't perceive any form of life within the building, but surely they didn't bring him here just to leave him to his own devices. He could sense information-gathering magic around the room, so he knew he was being observed, but what could be the reasoning behind— woah.

That was a [Gate].

Harry had yet to meet anyone that could use them in this new world, other than himself, which meant— oh, this was going to be good. He had to consciously stop himself from grinning, feeling oddly expectant of whoever was coming to talk with him.

A single Scale Demon — a low-level demon that was roughly three meters tall; the tail resembled a snake, the head a goat skull, and its eyes were beacons of bluish-white fire in empty sockets — walked out of the gate.

…what a way to kill his good mood; they had sent another summon instead of anyone of real substance.

Were those things even capable of speech?

"…hello?" Harry asked tentatively, watching warily as it slowly opened its jaws.

"State your name and title," the demon rasped out. Alright, at least it could talk, that's good.

"Jim. No title," Harry stated curtly.

He had "characters" with different builds and appearances depending on what he wanted to accomplish. The blond freckled one he looked like right now was named "Jim", and was the one he used for, mostly, intimidation and — sometimes fierce — info gathering with demi-humans and heteromorphs. It was also his guise for specific activities within human nations.

Harry looked up, trying to make the demon meet his gaze. This one may be intelligent enough to know something about its summoner—

"You're lying," the goddamn thing muttered accusingly, raising its gigantic maul to attack, and Merlin, were they serious? Just like that, talking time was over? No attempt at negotiations, or getting info from the other party, no nothing?

No, no, since this was nothing but a summon, that was to be expected. This was probably to test Harry's strength, to determine if he was dangerous enough to warrant any kind of special attention.

With a soft sigh, Harry summoned his wand, immobilized the hulking creature and sent it crashing belly-first to the floor. Whoever did the building made a good job, since the structure didn't seem to receive any damage from the impact.

Ok, he could see meet its gaze now. Let's see…

Another summon that only had memories of a single day. Only a few minutes, to be exact, but— well, at least this one actually looked at its bloody summoner before coming here.

An Evil Lord Wrath.

Those were somewhere around level 85, if he recalled correctly. Quite strong by this world's standards, so it was no wonder that it didn't feel the need to go out of his way to greet Harry.

"Alright, I'm guessing you have some sort of surveillance in this place. Can whoever is leading this come by to chat? I'd like to avoid needless fighting, if possible," Harry muttered out loud while lazily destroying the Scale Demon, the blue flames diminishing in its empty eye sockets before it vanished, "I won't allow any remote observation anymore. You have thirty minutes."

And with that final message, Harry activated his anti-detection spells, not stopping until he felt the magic around the room crack up like broken glass. That should cause enough of a ruckus.

Thankfully, they didn't use up the half-hour Harry had given them. As soon as the remote surveillance was interrupted, another [Gate] opened, and this time, an Evil Lord Wrath stepped out of it.

Huh, Harry had expected a lower mid-tier demon before getting to meet the big bad boss. Not like he was complaining though.

"Hel—"

"You're the leader of the demi-human alliance in the Abelion hills," the demon stated matter-of-factly. Harry huffed lightly at the interruption, but nodded all the same.

"Yeah, I decided to stop by to ask what's going on. Care to elaborate?" Harry replied curtly. If the demon wasn't one for pleasantries, then he shouldn't beat around the bush either.

…damn, he missed Jald. Why couldn't other demons be as pleasant?

"You've been absent for several months," the Evil Lord said neutrally, slowly circling him like some sort of wary wolf, not acknowledging Harry's question, "why?"

Harry shrugged, eyes following the demon's movements, "why are you taking them?"

His senses alerted him of the sudden appearance of several creatures, which were starting to surround the building. He supposed they had opened a [Gate] outside.

"There's value in them," Wrath admitted almost absentmindedly, "where did you go?"

"Sightseeing. Can we not fight? It won't end well for your side," Harry warned with mock sympathy, releasing more magic so his output could match the Evil Lord's level.

The action made the demon pause, gaze turning wary, movement shifting from analyzing to defensive. Alright, that was good, maybe they really would be able to talk things out.

"What are you?"

"Not an enemy, unless you force me to be." His output increased once more, so he should be around the 100 level now. It seemed to be the right thing to do, since whatever creatures were outside suddenly stopped moving.

(x)

This was highly enlightening.

The human's power output had shifted— increased, at an incredible pace. Demiurge hadn't been aware that such a thing was even possible, but Ainz-sama probably had known, thus the order to treat even the weakest creatures with wariness.

Truly, his Lord was infallible. Demiurge's respect and admiration for his Master increased even more, something he hadn't even thought possible. Being able to serve Ainz-sama was, unquestionably, the greatest of honors.

what it would have been like, to receive a direct order from Harry-sama?

Demiurge felt the familiar pain of loss constrict his lungs, before he forced that line of thought to recede.

No, no, this was not the time to get lost in such reveries.

The human leader, Jim, had increased his power output so it reached a Floor Guardian's level. This tactic had, most likely, been done with the purpose of intimidating the adversary, which was logical considering the male human was confronting an Evil Lord.

The Evil Lords' were capable of calling forth an army of demons, once per day, and although the quantity was limited, the sub-races of demons it could summon were only restricted level-wise. In simple terms, Wrath could suddenly summon a horde of a few hundred demons, of different sub-races, so long those were of lower level than the Evil Lord itself, and the sum of their levels didn't surpass a certain amount. In an effort to avoid this scenario, Jim had adopted an intimidating tactic and had clearly stated he didn't want to fight.

Such was the price of ignorance.

The male human had no way of knowing that summoned monsters couldn't, in turn, summon more monsters. Therefore, the Evil Lord of Wrath that Demiurge had summoned and sent to Aura's fortress couldn't call forward a horde of lesser demons. It was different for the Evil Lords that had been manually created, such as the ones that served under him to protect the 7th floor, but Demiurge had seen no reason to endanger the life of a fellow Nazarick denizen when said risk was perfectly avoidable.

Besides, this way, Demiurge could use [Slave Sight] on his summon, to see what the Evil Lord could see, and since he was telepathically connected to it Demiurge was easily instructing on how to reply. It was like being there personally, without any of the risks of actually doing so.

"Not an enemy," Wrath repeated doubtfully, as instructed, "then what is your intent? By allowing yourself to be captured and brought here…"

"Ah, I just wanted to chat, really," Jim said casually with a small shrug, oddly at ease in the presence of the Evil Lord. The human probably had yet to notice the small army of summons that were surrounding the fortress. "Clarify a few things. Are they still alive?"

"Dead, I'm afraid," Wrath answered, mockingly apologetic.

Although the demi-humans didn't care or mourn for each other to the extent humans did, that was only were death was concerned. It would be a different matter if they knew their compatriots were being tortured and repeatedly used for scroll-production and experiments regarding healing magic. Thus, this answer was better to continue to avoid a direct confrontation.

Demiurge wanted to analyze the human's personality, intelligence, morals… information was power, after all. Once he was satisfied with his findings, he would allow for the situation to escalate into a fight, to judge the opponent's strength, battle strategies, and search for the presence of World items. That was the most logical course of action under these circumstances.

Jim frowned, looking oddly at the Evil Lord before huffing, "no, I don't think so. I'll be more direct, where is the farm? I'll go and see for myself."

There was a small change in Demiurge's posture. Most of his comrades wouldn't be able to notice just by looking at him, but he had tensed up.

There were absolutely no mentions of the farm outside of Nazarick, not to anyone, except for his occasional reports to Albedo.

Had his [Messages] been somehow infiltrated? No, that was unlikely, this whole charade would have been unnecessary if the human had had that kind of intel. But then, what else could… unless?

The shadow demon that had been compromised.

If this human's skill allowed him to extract knowledge of the creatures he controlled, like Ainz-sama could when he used [Undead Domination] over the undead of lower level than him, then that would explain how he knew something as sensitive as the farm's existence.

Which meant that, if the Evil Lord were to be controlled, the human would gain knowledge about Nazarick's existence, about Demiurge himself and, most terribly, about the path that the summon had taken to leave from the 7th floor to reach the surface.

It would be like giving a map about Nazarick's structure to the enemy, revealing sensitive information on how to get through avoiding the traps and other defenses.

The risk was too high.

Demiurge immediately vanished his Evil Lord and ordered the others to vanish the summons around the fortress as well. This meant that the enemy was now unsupervised, but it was the only action that could ensure Nazarick's secrets would not be exposed.

With the drastic change in the situation, Demiurge could no longer act on his own. He had informed Albedo that he would be taking the human to Aura's fortress, but now he needed to debrief his findings and involve Ainz-sama.

Above everything else, it was imperative for them to gain information on this new wildcard. It would be disastrous if any of his comrades currently out of the Tomb were to be caught unaware by this person.

(x)

What the hell.

Harry blinked incredulously at the empty space where the Evil Lord had used to stand on.

The one that was supposed to be the big, bad boss… was in reality just another summon? Holy shit. That meant the summoner was at least over 95 in terms of levels.

Was this the work of a bloody Dragon Lord? Was Harry accidentally pissing off one by inquiring about this? He really wasn't looking for a fight, he just wanted to rescue whoever was still alive and make them promise to leave the Abelion hills alone. That was it.

Damn, he should have trapped the Evil Lord and read its memories, instead of trying to talk his way through. At least that way, he would have known who was the summoner… ugh, too late for that now. The summon was dispelled.

Actually, the ones that had been surrounding the building had suddenly vanished as well. Were they thinking about destroying the whole area? No, why care for the summons' safety? If anything, those should have stayed to ensure Harry was here to receive whatever attack had been planned.

He couldn't sense any magic around him, or directed at him. No one in the vicinity. Why the sudden solitude, if they were still unable to use any kind of remote surveillance?

…had they deduced Harry was getting information from the summons?

That would explain what had happened. Still, to deduce that from nothing but his comment about a farm he wasn't supposed to know about— honestly, what kind of mad genius was behind this?

He had been treating this too lightly.

Accepting his mistake, Harry internally switched to a more serious mindset, and analyzed the information he had gathered so far.

A single individual couldn't manage a farm, much less one that had, if he recalled correctly, kidnapped several dozen demi-humans already. And that number was only considering those he knew from the Abelion hills, it was likely that the demons were gathering from other locations as well. Considering Harry had met nothing but summons so far, it was probable that those lesser demons were used to work in the farm too.

If the summoner had become aware of Harry's ability to gather information from said summons, wouldn't they be desperate to know his method and its limitations? Otherwise, they may consider — quite accurately — that a single slip would mean their most precious information would be found out. Harry would be able to hunt them down and take care of the issue from the root, at his leisure, on his own terms.

He had shown a level 100 aura. The enemy probably thought they were on even terms, and would, most likely, try to increase their probability of achieving victory by gathering as much information about Harry as they could.

Thus, the Summoner needed to know more about Harry, just like Harry needed to know more about the Summoner.

The solution was simple enough then, Harry just needed to stay put and wait for the inevitable confrontation. After all, he was under no delusion that they were on an even playfield. At risk of sounding arrogant, nothing short of a Raid Boss, World-items, Wild Magic, or a World Enemy would keep him on his toes. Specially since the high-level beings of this world didn't seem to have much combat experience.

Brute strength, high levels, equipment, and skills weren't enough to ensure victory. Experience and battle strategy were usually more determining factors, and Harry had plenty to spare.

He should be able to handle whatever they threw at him.


AUTHOR NOTE:

I recently read Overlord's alternative volume, where Momonga arrives to the new world 200 years before Nazarick does, and wondered… even if for only a short time (to be able to use Overlord characters xD) what would have happened if Harry arrived at the New World before Nazarick and Momonga did?

The treasury is devoid of the Guild's World items, since Harry took them thinking the world was going to end. He didn't want to waste them, having them disappear when he could use them in future lives.

There are parts of Nazarick that they don't understand how it works, like Harry's Room of Requirement and the wards (glitch) that protects the entire Tomb. No one but Momonga can use [Gate] to go outside of Nazarick (he was the only one keyed to the wards to allow so) thus the reason the Evil Lord had to go through the Tomb and reach the surface the old-fashioned way. Using [Gate] it's possible once outside the Tomb tho.

Harry suddenly vanished, even though Momonga remained exactly where he had been…

Unsurprisingly, I wanted to play with the concept. Hence, this small series. Hope you enjoy!

Btw, in case you didn't notice, they're currently at the end of the Lizardmen saga.

See ya' around~ dEBB987