AN: Good News everyone I got an editor. So over time, each chapter will be edited and re-uploaded.
Chapter 1 Edited by Comtessev.
Chapter 1 - Last Days of Yggdrasil
In the year 2138, there exists something called a "DMMO-RPG." This stands for "Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game." While connected via an intracranial nanocomputer network called a "neuronano interface," which combines the best of cyber- and nanotechnology, players experience physical sensations as if they were really inhabiting an imaginary world. You play as if you're actually in the game's world. And among all the various DMMO-RPGs that had been developed, one stood above the rest.
Released twelve years earlier, in 2126, by a Japanese developer who had been waiting for just the right moment. Compared to other DMMO-RPGs at the time, Yggdrasil gave players an incredible amount of freedom.
For example, the game considers the class system as a fundamental element of character customization. If you count the advanced classes together with the base ones, there were well over two thousand of them. Each player could choose as many classes as they liked. Since each class could only have 15 levels, every level 100 player had at least a few of them. There were over 200 unique races with their own levels and many of them were so-called advanced races, and players needed to max out base race to evolve into. Thus, each level 100 player ended up with multiple races and classes making it almost impossible to have two identical builds. 100 was the normal level cap but there were a few ways to work around it. Some items gave additional class and race levels.
One of the most sought-after world item let the player increase their level cap by 20 levels once. When used, it would disappear into the worlds of Yggdrasil only to be found by another player. Because of enormous size of each world, very few players ever found it. Developers added such mechanic to 20 of most powerful world items to prevent anyone from overusing them.
Then, by using the creator's tool kit—sold separately—players could edit the appearance of their weapons and armors, as well as the advanced settings of their in-game residences.
The environment awaiting players who ventured into this world was enormous. In fact, there were nine worlds: Asgard, Alfheim, Vanaheim, Nidavellir, Midgard, Jotunheim, Niflheim, Helheim, and Muspelheim.
With a vast world, a staggering number of classes, and graphics that could be tweaked to one's heart's content—it was precisely the amount of customization that poured nitroglycerin onto the Japanese creative spirit and led to the game's explosive popularity. It got to the point wherein Japan the word DMMO-RPG was practically synonymous with Yggdrasil.
But it all has come to an end. Just two more days and the servers will be shut down permanently with everything inside Yggdrasil gone. A new era of VR technology was approaching, and Yggdrasil was losing popularity over the last two years because, being outdated by most modern standards at this point. Most of the players quit during this time, leaving only a small minority of enthusiasts that kept the game alive, if barely.
Suzuki Satoru arrived home beat. Another long day at work, as usual. He goes through his home routine in an almost robotic manner. Doors locked. Not that the old and run-down lock would protect anything, but he had nothing of value, anyway. His apartment holds only the bare minimum needed for living. Besides, he was spending money only on necessities and pouring about a third of his salary into his only hobby - Yggdrasil; he didn't spend it on anything else and just saved it. Satoru didn't have any family left. He never knew his father and his mother died about 14 years ago from working herself to death. He didn't have a wife or girlfriend either, in fact, he never had one. In his 31 years of life, he was still a virgin, not that it bothered him much, but sometimes he felt very lonely.
He puts aside the breathing mask. People needed such masks to even go outside. Mega corporations had turned Earth into a toxic hellhole over the last few decades in the name of progress and corporate profit.
Satoru eats a quick and tasteless meal, one of those ready to eat reddish goo things that provided most of the needed base nutrients. Actual food was expensive and working-class like him didn't eat it daily. Next stop was a quick shower and then his so-called 'real life' began as he injected nano machines and set up the VR gear. After a few brief moments, he logged into Yggdrasil and stood as his avatar Momonga, a skeletal mage with Overlord race and specialization in necromancy and time magic. As support caster, he had the most diverse cast of spells to use and he was the only player who could use 713 spells instead of the usual 300. He managed to get that much by carefully choosing his races, classes, items, and cash shop purchases.
As the guild leader of the most infamous guild in Yggdrasil - Ainz Ooal Gown, he was the only one left at this point. Out of the 41 original members, 37 just quit. They gave him all their inventory saying one last goodbye. The remaining three besides him haven't been online for over a year.
Momonga was used to this already. He always greeted guild NPCs when he walked past them and sometimes even pretended to keep quick conversations with them to amuse himself. He had kept up an e-mail correspondence with a few people like Peroroncino, Bukubukuchagama, and Ulbert. Momonga considered them his friends, with Pero being his best friend for a long time. But lately, life got in the way more and more. Daily e-mail exchanges had become a weekly one at most.
Once the developers announced Yggdrasil was shutting down, he had planned to invite all the former members to one last gathering on the last day to say goodbye to their home. Most didn't even bother to respond. Some had replied that they didn't have the time out of politeness. He got a few positive responses, though. His best friend Pero with his sister Buku had promised to come. Ulbert and Herohero had given a vague answer, but he hoped they could come. What surprised him the most, however, was that the player named Tabula Smaragdina had replied with a long letter promising to come in the last days and asking if Momonga would permit him to change his creations for some bizarre reason.
'The last two days of Yggdrasil servers,' Suzuki somberly thinks. In two days, his true home will be gone. The place where he met his friends and made the strongest guild, all gone. He checks his friend's and guild list out of habit after that but only sees his name as usual. No one else has been online for more than a year.
"What to do today?" his avatar Momonga asked himself loudly. He was used to speak loudly to himself in-game since no one else was around.
"I could make the trip and go look at each floor guardians one last time, or maybe raid another empty guild base. Although there is no actual point doing that anymore." Momonga pondered loudly.
After some thought, he decided to visit the floor guardians. After all, the last four raids on abandoned guildhalls had left him with over 800 unsorted items in his inventory alone, not to mention about 6000 various items in treasury, which he couldn't bother to sort anymore. Since the announcement of the servers' shut down, there weren't many people left bothering coming online, leaving many guild halls almost unguarded, save from NPC's guardians that could be countered if approached carefully. Momonga had hoarded tens of thousands of various items including nine new world items, and one, he almost couldn't believe to have found, was the "Endless Strive." One of the most powerful world items, out of twenty, to disappear back into the world after each use. The same item that four different world champion class players had used to bump their level cap to 120. At first, he was tempted to just use it, but his hoarder nature prevented him from doing it.
Momonga made the treasury his first stop. A figure in a yellow uniform with a long coat sat on the couch. Its round featureless head decorated with a military hat and three black holes where eyes and mouth were supposed to be. It was Pandora's Actor, his own creation. Although Momonga cringed a bit, remembering his phase when he obsessed over World War II and Germany in particular. Still, he was proud of his creation. Pandora's Actor's backstory was written with him having an obsession for sorting items, making him extremely happy to be treasuries guard.
"Doing a good job, Pandora's Actor?" Momonga asks loudly and sees a small nod from the figure. He was already used to such small occurrences as figments of his imagination as he believes it happens so he could get at least some response from NPC's.
Next was the guardian of the first three floors, Shalltear Bloodfallen. Created by his best friend Peroroncino as a very kinky flat chested vampire who stuffed her bra to appear more mature. A red-eyed beauty of about fourteen years old. She walked the usual patrol route and when passing Momonga she stopped and curtsied, as she was programmed to do. Momonga patted her head, saying,
"Keeping our home safe as usual." with her eyes seemingly glowing in happiness and her lips curled in a barely noticeable smile.
Momonga sighed and admitted to himself that he is slowly losing it.
He next visited Gargantua, the 4th-floor guardian. A stone golem of immense size stood motionless. Momonga saluted it but got no response as they had made it without sentience, with a backstory of only being a construct.
Cocytus, the guardian of the 5th floor, was the next on the list. Stationed in the heart of frozen glaciers, he stood motionless with a weapon in each of his four hands. An insectoid-like creature with a light blue carapace.
"Happy to see you, Cocytus, keep on the wonderful work," Momonga said as the figure seemingly straightened out and nodded.
Then came the guardians of the 6th Floor Aura and Mare. Cross-dressing Elven twins that looked to be about 11 years old, were stationed in a house built inside an enormous tree. Both had golden hair and mismatched blue and green eyes. They were the creations of Bukubukuchagama. He patted their heads and complimented them on their good job as their faces lit up in glee.
A wave of sadness hit him as he recalled Buku playing with them, decorating their home, and trying out various costumes on them. He waved them goodbye and then went to visit Demiurge on the 7th floor, a demon in a formal orange suit with white vertical stripes. His facial features were that of an Asian man, with jet black spiked hair, round glasses and a long spiky tail. He was created by Ulbert Alain Odle as one of the evilest NPC's in Nazarick.
"Plotting evil things for the betterment of Nazarick, eh?" Momonga said with a little chuckle, and then he could swear he heard an almost inaudible 'Yes Lord Momonga, everything for Nazarick.' He shook his head in disbelief and went to the 8th floor where Victim, an embryo looking angel made as a living bomb able would spread debuffs on every enemy upon their death. Victim was instrumental in stopping the largest invasion on Nazarick ever suffered when over 1500 players teamed up to invade Nazarick, ultimately failing thanks to Victim's sacrifice.
Up on the hill, Rubedo stood. She was the strongest NPC of Nazarick. Only her creator Tabula Smaragdina knew how she was made, and for now was in an inactive state that only Momonga, as guild leader, could activate.
His last stop was the Throne room. Momonga sits down on the throne and activates Nazarick's control consoles and goes over daily expenses and status reports.
At his side stands Albedo, the guardian overseer, a succubus dressed in a white dress. She had wings covered in black feathers sprouting out from her lower back, long black hair and golden cat-like eyes, and two horns, each at one side of her head. Her beauty was almost unnatural. Tabula went all out on her and somehow made what Momonga thought to be the perfect woman. He had read her backstory at least a dozen times. In fact, he had done so with most of the NPC's.
Unrivaled in her administrative abilities, her abilities and intellect had earned her the place as guardian overseer. She always has a gentle smile on her, and her elegant way of speech has made many people think she is a goddess or an angel. However, she is cruel and manipulative towards those not from Nazarick but wears a facade hiding it. In addition, her feminine skills - particularly those of being a housewife - are excellent, and during her free time, she can be seen sweeping, sewing, and so on.
Though the reason is unknown, she enjoys cleanliness and her desire for such frequently drives her to clean things up. That said, the items accumulated through her collector's habit are typically very messy. Momonga was not sure if it was a jab from Tabula about his own collecting habits or his weird way of setting up his avatar with Albedo. There was just one thing he couldn't stand in her backstory. The last phrase was, 'despite being a virgin, she was a slut.' But no matter how much it vexed him, he couldn't bring himself into changing it. After looking at her for a moment as she stood unmoving with her gentle smile, he just says.
"Looks like it's just both of us hard at work again." For a moment it looked like she smiled a wider smile, happier that he addressed her.
He spent the next 30 minutes going through Nazarick's stats and expenses. Momonga said his observations and calculations loudly, mixing in a complaint or two about how he was the last guild member remaining and it was lonely without friends. When he glanced at Albedo again, he could swear Albedo's expression had changed into a mix between angry and sad. But before he could wonder about it, something unexpected happened.
A notification came up.
Peroroncino has logged in.
It surprised Momonga to see his old friend show up a day early.
He activated the zone map and saw Peroroncino showing up in the conference room, but only moments later he was moving towards the throne room, so he just waited a bit. About a minute later, Peroroncino barged in. His birdlike avatar was only clad in the game's default underwear.
"Hey Momo, it's so good to see you, I hope I didn't disturb your private time with your waifu!" Peroroncino said with a loud laugh in his usual crude manner.
"Pero, I'm so glad to see you, but you are back a day early. The servers will only shut down tomorrow."
"I know, but sis is recording in the next room, so I am free for a few hours, and what better way to spend them catching up with an old friend," said Peroroncino in an upbeat voice.
"How is she doing these days?"
Peroroncino's voice changed to a somber one when he answered with a series of rants: "Her back isn't getting better, not that it would without an operation. At this point, she can barely walk. I tried to talk her out of it, but she is spending every free time on recording voices to save up at least some money while AI voice acting hasn't taken over the industry yet. She... she is losing hope in life, and I can't do anything about it." his voice broke betraying his anger.
Momonga had put his hand on Peroroncino's shoulder as much as game animation allowed it, while he ranted and replies "I know you are doing the best you can for your older sister, she is lucky to have you in her life." Peroroncino winced a bit after that. He knew Momonga was all alone with no family, no one to lean on. It dawned on him how lonely Momonga must have felt all this time. There were no other players online, none had been present for over a year.
"Yeah, I know, I just... sorry Momonga, I didn't come here just to bitch about my life. How have you been doing all this time?"
Momonga swallowed the bitterness of being left alone in-game for so long. After all, he knew about Bukubukuchagama's diagnosis. She and her brother left the game at about the same time as she worked more to save money, and he fully supported her. How much he hated the world he lived in. The life of a young woman went to shit only because despite her popularity as a h-game voice actress, with her own fan base, she couldn't afford an operation to fix her back. There were so many stories like hers. So many just couldn't afford to play games anymore once they hit 30. Life just tore them down.
To distract himself and Peroroncino from life even for a bit, he retold what he has been up to with enthusiasm. Since most players have left the game, he had raided many empty guild bases and increased Nazarick's treasures at least sixfold, and even managed to get nine new world items, as most of them were just left behind by the players. Since they dropped all the prices in cash shops to almost nothing because of the game losing popularity and many bigger collection prices even more so when the servers' shutdown were announced, Momonga had purchased many new useful items to experiment with. Many of these items were doppelganger rings, book collections, race change consumables, and many other things.
"Damn, that sounds so fucking awesome. How many items did you collect over this time, you little hoarder dragon? Do we need to worry that some invisible hobbits will show up to steal our shit now?" Peroroncino just asked with a jab, comparing Momonga to a dragon from an ancient fantasy book.
"Hey, is my old gear still lays around, by any chance? Knowing you, I doubt you just sold it as I told you to do?"
Momonga responded, "Oh, all your gear is in the treasury. I didn't sell any of it."
Peroroncino responded with a smiley emoji and almost dragged Momonga to the treasury to get all his old gear. As they passed Pandora's Actor on their way, Peroroncino remarked how cool it looked and gave him a salute by raising his right hand.
Peroroncino had put all his old gear back, restoring his avatar to his past glorious look and both he and Momonga toured Nazarick and took various pictures together, striking poses with various NPC's on the way. Momonga had missed this so much. They were laughing, making lighthearted jabs and jokes at each other's expense. For a moment it felt like old times, and he just wanted it to go on. It was 9:30 PM when Peroroncino had to log off. His sister had finished her recording, and they planned to eat dinner together and watch a movie. He logged out but not before promising to come back tomorrow as well and bring his sister to wait for the so-called end of the world in-game.
Momonga let out a sigh. He was happy about his friend showing up even for a bit, but loneliness crept in again and now he was at a loss at what to do for the next few hours. The answer soon came in another notification.
Tabula Smaragdina has logged in.
Momonga recalled Tabula had asked his permission to change some of his NPC's. Tabula's own creations. It was strange since he was not the type to ask permission before and the general rule in the guild was that only creators could temper with NPC's they had created, so Tabula asking for permission to do so felt weird.
Still, he used the ring of Ainz Ooal Gown and teleported to the conference room. It was the usual spot where guild members showed up when logging in, unless they logged out somewhere outside of Nazarick.
Tabula played a race called Brain Eater, a creature with a squid-like face and tentacles sprouting out of his head and face. Same as Peroroncino, he was only clad in the game's base underwear as he too had given all his gear to Momonga when he left the game years ago.
"Tabula! How have you been? I haven't heard from you for such a long time!"
"Oh, hello Momonga, my friend. I have been fine, suffering from a bit of a writer's block lately, but otherwise no complaints. How is life treating you?"
"Oh, I'm doing fine as well, still in good health," Momonga replies.
"Thank you for informing me that Yggdrasil is shutting down. I know it will sound weird but please let me change my daughters, and I urge you to rewrite your character's and creations backstories to reflect how you would want to send them off."
Momonga knew of Tabula's obsession with the occult. So many lectures and long ramblings in the past. Because of his politeness, Momonga usually let Tabula just ramble, even when other players just left him alone with Tabula to suffer. Tabula had always been very eccentric, so he just decided to not question his statements and just go along with them.
"Sure, I don't mind. They are your creations, after all. Do you want me to come along or do you need privacy?"
"I would be honored if you would accompany me, as I have some additional requests about them that would involve your avatar the ruler of Great Tomb of Nazarick."
"Uh... sure. By the way, your old gear is still in the treasury. Do you want to put it back on?"
"I don't really need it, but some robe on this form would be nice. If you want, we can visit your son at the treasury, too. Maybe you have some things you want to change in him before sending him off?" replied Tabula with an elevated mood.
"Pandora's Actor? Yes, I think I could change a thing or two in his settings," replied Momonga as he handed Tabula Smaragdina a ring of Ainz Ooal Gown. Momonga was unsure if he even wanted to temper with his own creation, but some things made him cringe so he could at least fix some of them.
They were both standing in Nazarick's treasury moments later. Pandora's Actor sitting on the couch in the usual NPC's unmoving fashion. Momonga cringed again for the second time today, seeing him and remembering his younger days. Tabula looked through the treasury for a suitable robe for his avatar. He didn't care for his old gear at all. A nice-looking robe would suffice. Enormous piles of gear were lying around, most of them being from the recent raids. Meanwhile, Momonga opened Pandora's Actor's settings and read them while talking to himself,
"Speaking German, well, I'm clearly erasing that. Hmm... I think I will tone down his theatrics a bit. Nevertheless, him acting silly to fool enemies to appear incompetent sounds kinda fun and useful. Well, at least his uniform looks cool, so that's about it."
Finally, Tabula found a purple robe with a golden lining and equipped it. He came up to Momonga who was finishing editing Pandora's Actor's backstory.
"So Tabula, where do we start?"
"I think with Nigredo, I would like to change her appearance as well."
Hearing that Tabula seriously wanted to alter his creations not just change the flavor text, Momonga became too curious to just let it pass.
"By the way, why do you want to do this? I mean you haven't been online for two years and on the last two days you want to do such changes?"
"How to explain this...in short, Momonga, I believe Nazarick will move on to another plane after the servers shut down. I already sense changes in them, and you, for that matter. I know you do not believe in the same things as me, even so, you wanted to gather all of Ainz Ooal Gown for one last time for the send-off. So, I think it means a lot to you as well."
"I guess that makes sense. I have the doll needed in my inventory so we can disable the trap and you can alter Nigredo."
Nigredo was in a special room on the 5th floor's frozen prison. Momonga took out the doll that was necessary to disable Nigredo and went into her room with Tabula. He put the doll in the crib and Nigredo grabbed it as programming dictated her to do and started cradling it.
When Tabula designed this room, he was in his horror movie phase and loved to make horror scenarios. Nigredo's looks bore some similarity to her younger sisters, Rubedo and Albedo. The difference was that she had no skin on her face and didn't have any angelic or succubus features, as her sisters did. Her race was a physical phantom, an undead race that could switch back and forth between human and specter forms. Tabula had programmed Nigredo to attack anyone when her baby doll wasn't around as a trap to spook invaders. However, she was only level 85 and thus was incapable of killing a prepared level 100 player.
Tabula starts with her appearance. He spends some money on needed assets right away and changes her face to have skin, making it normal looking and beautiful like the rest of her sisters. She had the same black hair as Albedo, but unlike her younger sister, her blue eyes were ones of a regular human. Tabula rewrites her setting, stating that he didn't want to leave his daughter in such a tormented state. Momonga is standing behind him reading the text along as Tabula rewrites Nigredo from obsessing over her doll as her child and attacking everyone until she finds it, to a woman caring deeply for her sisters and wanting to protect her home.
Momonga spoke out "You know, this room doesn't function as a trap for intruders anymore now, maybe add some lines that she will still attack intruders and fiercely protect her home."
Tabula quickly adds the lines Momonga suggests.
"Nigredo will still attack any intruder just now in a more general way. If you have objections to how I change them, please speak up. Taking into consideration how long I was gone from the game and the care you put in Nazarick's upkeep, they are more yours now than they ever were mine, and I want their stories to reflect that. That's why I wanted to ask if you would be okay if I add to all three my daughter's settings that they love your avatar Momonga? I'm not sure how that love will manifest wherever they end up but at least I know someone will care for them back."
"I guess, but I have written in the backstory of my character that he deeply cares about all inhabitants of Nazarick, and I don't think he would show favoritism towards your daughters," Momonga responded playing along as he finds some strange closure and comfort in Tabula's beliefs.
"Can I ask you to write in that Momonga also loves them? I know he is an overlord and is not supposed to feel powerful emotions but that would set me at peace."
"I guess there is no harm in that," Momonga replies and opens his character screen and writes that Momonga holds all three sisters in a special place in his non-existing heart.
He glanced at Nigredo, and her neutral expression changed to a warmer one. She even seemingly smiled at him. He was ready to write it off as usual if not for Tabula giving him a knowing nod, as if saying 'I can see it too.' Was this really happening or were they both going crazy? Momonga recalls only bits and pieces of many things Tabula had said about his beliefs and from that perspective, even digital characters would have some sort of soul. As an atheist, Momonga had written off all these small, strange occurrences as mere imagination, but now Tabula all but confirmed he saw it too. He shook his head as they went to the next location. That's it. Both he and Tabula were just losing it.
At Tabula's request, they walked to their next destination; he wanted to give Nazarick a good look. Both walked in silence and Tabula was deep in thought. Everything was just like he remembered. When he logged in, he was afraid to find Nazarick in disrepair. He saw that all guild members except Momonga and Peroroncino have been offline for more than a year. After asking about Peroroncino, he found out that he came back only a few hours earlier and Nazarick was being taken care of only by Momonga all this time. A realization came that it wasn't their home anymore; he and all others left it, he left his daughters behind. Only Momonga stayed. At this point, he was Ainz Ooal Gown, the only one left deserving to call this place home.
The next stop was Rubedo, Nazarick's secret weapon on the 8th floor. Rubedo looked almost like a typical angel, with long blonde hair and bright green eyes. What stood out were her metallic wings, one metallic arm, and metallic spikes coming out of her skin on her back and shoulders. She had an expressionless face, reminding the fact that Tabula made her as a golem. She wore a red dress and some of her metallic body parts were decorated in a scarlet color. Momonga wanted to ask how Tabula made her, but not wanting a two-hour lecture decided against it. He knew Tabula used a world item and that Rubedo's stats were so high and her skills so lethal that it would take all the floor guardians combined to stop her.
Her trait was that she had an awfully hard time opening up to others as she was an angel of the highest order, but something had gone wrong, and she now remained in a state between pure angel and fallen one. Her personality was very introverted and defensive but vicious and aggressive when someone she cared for was in danger. Tabula left it in but added that she only fully trusted Momonga, adding the same love line as he did for Nigredo and that she holds loyalty to Momonga above all else, even before Nazarick and her own sisters. Momonga just looked silently as Tabula worked and seeing that she would still be loyal to him, at least, didn't make him worry that something could go seriously wrong on the last day of Nazarick. Rubedo's expression didn't change, staying neutral and expressionless.
Their last stop was the throne room, where the guardian overseer Albedo, the middle sister, stood by the throne. Tabula approached her opened her settings and after some reading mumbled "I made her a slut, how cliche for a succubus," Momonga wanted to shout at him for that line but seeing how Tabula sighed, disappointed in himself for adding that line he remained silent.
"Would it be ok if I made her be in love with your avatar making it very specific, I think it kinda fits since she stood by your throne so long as your assistant?"
It was a good thing his character couldn't blush. Momonga almost stuttered his reply, "I... I'm not sure, I guess it's ok. But it's not my throne it belonged to all of us."
Tabula chuckled in response "Oh my friend, I think it has been your throne for a long time and it fits so great that a virgin succubus, despite her succubus nature had fallen in love with a leader of Nazarick and wished nothing more than to be at his side. I can't think of a better send off to my daughter than that."
Momonga felt silent for a moment, as he couldn't come up with anything to refute that. Finally, he caved in and agreed with Tabula, letting him change Albedo's setting to be in love with him.
After finishing editing Albedo's settings and promising to log on before they shut the servers down, Tabula Smaragdina logged off. Momonga checked the clock and realized that it was close to midnight already, and he had to log off. He needed to get at least some sleep before work. Before doing so, he glanced at Albedo and had a feeling that Albedo's expression had changed, a warmer smile on her face, and her eyes seemingly looked at him. He told himself that he really needed to catch some sleep and logged off.
The last day of Yggdrasil had come. Satoru logged in as usual and with a sigh awaited the last day of the game. He knew that at least a few people would show up and that he didn't have to witness the end of his home alone. Momonga sat in the conference room and tinkered with his insanely large inventory while waiting for others to show up. He had lost track of time when a notification showed up.
Ulbert Alain Odle has logged in.
It made Momonga happy since he had heard of Ulbert's health issues and wasn't sure he would even show up.
A demonic goat sat almost opposite to him at the enormous round table and waved at him saying,
"Hey Momonga! I'm here to witness the end of the days."
"Ulbert, I'm so glad to see you. How have you been?"
Ulbert responded that he was doing fine, not wanting to rant about his life. His body was on his last legs. The pain was getting unbearable. At least he got free medication this month to keep him sane and make one last happy memory by showing up in his favorite game of all time. He didn't care how much strain it put on him. All he hoped was not to die before midnight and say proper goodbyes to his friends in the game he was forced to stop playing because of the cancer's progression and the lack of medicine to keep the pain away.
Momonga walked up to him handing out the Ring of Ainz Ooal Gown and asked with a chuckle, "So you want to put on your old gear, or want to be the nudist of the group?"
"You still have it?"
"Of course, I kept all the gear that was entrusted to me for safekeeping." It was painfully obvious what Momonga meant. He had waited for all of them to come back.
Moments later, Ulbert was equipping his gear in the treasury, taking off his gears from the statue that somewhat resembled him. There was one for each member of the guild and most of them, apart from Peroroncino, were in their counterpart's gear. First, he wanted to ask what happened to Peroroncino's gear but then he remembered seeing in the guild list that he had logged out just 15 hours ago, so it made sense that, same as Ulbert, he claimed his gear back.
Ulbert finished equipping all the pieces and then announced with his signature evil laughter, "Oh yeah, the grand catastrophe is back."
Momonga could hear the strain in his voice but decided not to ask. It would only remind him of the shitty life they are both trying to escape, even for a bit.
Ulbert then looks around and sees piles upon piles of various items and asks.
"From where did all that came from?"
Momonga just retold what he already explained to Peroroncino yesterday as Ulbert listened in envy, remarking that it sounded like a lot of fun.
While Ulbert and Momonga were catching up, Peroroncino and Bukubukuchagama logged in. While Buku went to the treasury for her gear, Pero used the opportunity to bitch that, lately, it was near impossible to find an h-game without her sister voicing at least one character and he has been forced to resort to older 'classics' for his 'cultural' needs. Both Ulbert and Momonga patted Peroroncino on the back while laughing at his torment of being the brother of a famous voice actress in the genre. Making things worse was the fact that Pero had a special thing for loli characters, and his sister specialized in them because of her ability to speak in a childish voice.
Buku came back looking the same since all her gear was internal and didn't change her red slime-like avatar and, with her most bubbly voice, asked.
"Big brother Momonga, how have you been? I hope you haven't forgotten about your future waify Buku?"
The statement by itself was a funny one as Bukubukuchagama played some type of red slime, a gelatinous monster with the only thing showing her being a female was the cute voice she was using.
"How could I possibly forget about you my lady" Momonga responded in a mock voice. Buku had always been flirty with him. She first started doing it just to annoy her little brother by hitting on his best friend, but over time, they became good friends. Thanks to her, Momonga had at least some experience on how to talk to women.
As usual, Peroroncino couldn't pass an opportunity to mock his sister and chipped in saying "Don't force yourself on our glorious leader, Nazarick is full of hotter waifus than you."
"Ulbert, Momonga, you will have to provide my alibi after I murder my bird brain of a brother," Buku almost growled.
"Easy now, I'm just joking sis! Feel free to steal Momonga from us for a while, there are still a few hours left till midnight."
Momonga flashed a smiley emoji and offered Bukubukuchagama to go for a walk on the 6th floor, which she happily agreed. Pero shouted after them that if he catches them banging in the bushes, he would be mad.
It was under an evening sky when they both appeared on the 6th floor. It was a forested area near the home of Aura and Mare. Buku thought for a moment if she wanted to go see her creations, but for some reason decided against it. They would soon be gone anyway, and she didn't want even more sadness fully remembering them.
"Momo, I wanted to thank you for sending the invitation. With life being what it is, it's nice to remember better times when we could goof off and share epic moments here."
Their memories… They would still have all the memories of this place, and no one could take those away. Many People had moved on. There were more important things to worry about than fantasy. Life hit hard and didn't spare most of them.
Buku had gone silent as well. She wanted to vent to Momonga, tell him all the shit that was going on in her life, but she couldn't. Her pride didn't let her. She wanted to forget her life if only for just a moment, so she looked up to the sky of the 6th floor. It was nighttime already and stars were out. There were no such clear nights in real life. In fact, the only way to know how clear the sky looked was through pictures and videos from the past.
"Blue Planet did such a wonderful job creating it," said Momonga absently, lost in his own thoughts.
"Yes he did, this sky is beautiful," replied Bukubukuchagama as they both just stared at the sky for a while. Tabula interrupted their serene moment by logging in. Momonga looked at the watch. It was 11 pm already. Just one hour left.
Both of them teleported to the conference room where Ulbert, Peroroncino, and Tabula chatted about their lives. Tabula was rambling about how Nazarick will move on to the new plane and both Ulbert and Pero could barely pay attention to him.
Momonga spoke up "I wanted to say, thank you all for coming one last time. It's the last hour of Nazarick so I would like to hear your ideas on how to spend it."
"How about you take the guild staff, we all gather in the throne room and make our avatars stand as last bosses like it always was the plan," Ulbert suggested.
Seeing that others agree with Ulbert, Momonga took the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown and equipped it as the guild leader should before the last battle. They all walked to the throne room to enjoy the last time seeing the overly luxurious heart of their guild home.
With Momonga in the lead, they approach an immense door leading to the throne room. Momonga looks at immobile golems guarding it and remarks that if Lucifer plays a prank on them now he would be pissed, getting chuckles out of everybody. It was a well-known fact that the player named Lucifer was a prankster and had set up various traps for his guild mates. Momonga had fallen in one such trap when a guard golem attacked him without provocation.
The doors open, and the throne room comes into view. Hundreds of people could easily fit in it. The way to the throne is covered with a luxurious red carpet. A throne room fitted for true rulers. With Momonga in lead, they approach the throne where Albedo stands unmoving with a gentle smile on her face. Tabula stares at Albedo intently when they finally gather around the throne. Buku also stared intently for a moment as she had feeling Albedo's eyes followed Momonga but just thought that maybe Momonga altered her to do so. After all, even when most players were active, many had called Albedo Momonga's waify behind his back.
"Momo, sit. A guild leader should sit in his rightful place," Buku tells in a cheerful voice and despite Momonga's protests, almost pushes him on the throne.
Tabula is still staring at Albedo now, murmuring, "She is already changing...as he told..."
"Tabula, buddy, you alright?" Peroroncino asks Tabula while putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm fine...this all feels weird as if something big will happen..." then he snapped out of it, reminded them it was the last five minutes of Yggdrasil.
"Tabula, you seem shaken, you sure everything is fine?" this time it was Momonga who asked. He also felt incredibly sad to see his home go, but Tabula seems more afraid than sad.
Tabula just replied that he is fine, and with a deep breath calmed down. He knew something big will happen and even if he said it to his friends present in-game, they would not believe him.
The last-minute came, then the last seconds as they waited for the end.
Moment of darkness...
And the numbers just faded off, but all five were still in the throne room.
Bonus story 1 - Tabula's dream
Tabula was sitting in his bed, restlessly. He had received an e-mail from Satoru or Momonga. Yggdrasil was shutting down, and he invited him to one last gathering. Tabula had almost forgotten about the game, but one thing bugged him. He and Mariposa had made three characters there in her image. Their daughters, so to speak. Mariposa, being his spiritual wife, was not bound to the physical realm.
He wanted to ask her opinion, but she was busy and promised to return in two days after some errands in her home realm.
Tabula finally decided to do some astral travel and maybe find out what was bothering him so much. He lays down on the bed and slips into a trance soon leaving his body. Right away, he feels the pull or call in a certain direction and knows he needs to follow it.
Soon enough he is in some garden. He notices a man sitting by the table with one free chair, as if waiting for him.
Tabula walks up, greets the man and sits down on the free chair.
"Hello Tabula, you seem troubled?"
"Yes, I guess you know why."
"I may… You worry about them even though you do not believe them to be real."
"Mariposa and I made them, and they will be gone in two weeks. I know they are just digital information, unlike our two spiritual daughters, but something is bothering me and I can't place what it is."
"If you call them your daughters, you believe that some part of them is real and already a soul is forming for them, or am I wrong?"
"No, but what can I do? The servers will be shut down; they will be erased."
"Tabula, you already know better to write it off as just an end, the servers' shutdown will be a beginning," the man spoke in a casual friendly tone.
Tabula was silent for a moment. This being knew something and was not telling it intentionally. Tabula knew the rules. Ask and you will receive the answer, but he still needed to figure out what to ask. The question just came. He knew what to ask.
"Something big will happen with them. They will not just be erased and their remains scattered as memories in the astral realm?"
"Yes, something big will happen."
"What should I do."
"That is your decision, not mine."
"Can you give me advice?"
"Think how you want to send them off, what core values you want them to have, who will look after them."
With that, everything clicked. Momonga will stay until the last moment, his avatar will stay with them. Momonga always cared for Nazarick more than anyone else. Tabula recalled him saying that Nazarick is his actual home and Earth is just a distraction. He knew what to do, but there was something still bugging him, so he asked once more.
"What will happen to them once the server shuts down, where they will go?"
"Different world, the greed of ignorant one will make them more real than you can imagine."
A cryptic answer, for sure. Tabula didn't trust the being who was sitting opposite him. He had taken a rather unassuming form. He needed to find out more.
Tabula grew frustrated. He needed to think fast about how to get answers, so he went straight for the deal and asked.
"What do you want for guiding me to the path of the greatest benefits for me and my daughters in this situation?"
"It's simple. What I want is for you to stay in Nazarick until the end. Doing so will also give you what you seek."
Tabula had a gut feeling that being in front of him was someone with power beyond his understanding, already knowing how it will play out.
"Will you guide me after the event as well?" Tabula asked, feeling that if he stays till the last moment he will go with Nazarick and his life on earth will end.
"I will when I'm needed. I don't abandon those who choose to ask for help from me, but know this: I will not come when you can be fine without me. You will feel when my help is needed, don't use it in vain."
"Thank you... master. There is one more thing. Can I ask for your name so I know who to call."
"My name is not important, I will know when to come and help."
With that, Tabula suddenly opened his eyes and sat up in his bed. He knew what needed to be done.
Bonus Story 2 - Change of Heart.
Albedo stood, unmoving. No one had told her to move, so she didn't. That's how it worked, just stand there and smile until ordered to do something else. Lord Momonga came as he did most of the days and sat on the throne, where she was standing.
"Looks like it's just us both hard at work again," he said. Lord Momonga was so kind to her. She wanted to thank him but the command to do so didn't come so she just stood smiling her usual gentle smile. She watched as he worked on the Great Tomb's finances and daily maintenances. She wanted to tell him it was her job and hoped he would give her the order to do it, but, like always, the order didn't come.
Albedo watched and listened to how Lord Momonga talked to her. He was sad that other supreme ones had left. She hated them; they left him alone. They made Lord Momonga suffer alone. It wasn't the first time he said it. Almost daily he would complain to her about how all of them left, and she grew to hate them. Even her own creator. He left. She hated him for leaving.
Then something happened. Lord Peroroncino returned. Lord Momonga was so happy. They went somewhere. Did he take Lord Momonga, was she all alone now? Rage and panic filled her mind. She stood and waited... and waited. They came back once again to the throne room, made funny poses, laughed together. She was happy to see her lord enjoying himself for once. Then they left, so Albedo just stood and waited again, like she always did.
Then her creator Lord Tabula Smaragdina came into the throne room with Lord Momonga. What was happening, did the supreme ones return one by one?
To her horror, her creator wanted to change her. What will he do to her? She was afraid, so afraid.
But then something wonderful happened. Lord Tabula gave her new feelings, warm, wonderful feelings. Hate for her creator faded as she felt love for Lord Momonga. He had given her off to Lord Momonga. She loved Lord Momonga with all her heart, and Lord Momonga accepted it.
She was so excited and overjoyed that she didn't even notice that everyone left. So she just stood and waited like she always did. But the warm feeling didn't fade away.