3 「Guardians Assembled」
"Well you took your time," Lukrut complained to Peter as he was sitting at a low table playing scrap(cards) with a group of armored men and women.
Peter who was standing at the door, was taking a gander of the things around the room. If anything this place was luxurious, but at the same simplistic. There were symbolic emblems that lacked context to this world, but it spoke legions of the mystery man's origins.
Dyne and Ninya were all resting around a small table with a quilt resting around it. Most of their heavier garb was removed, and there was a little sweat on their skin.
It was clear that they were enjoying their stay.
Dyne glanced up though upon hearing Lukrut and caught a glimpse of Peter before waving. There was clearly a smile planted across his face.
"They weren't hostages?" Peter asked as he turned to look towards Cipher who was standing by the door. He had been genuinely concerned for his fellow Adventurers.
Cipher shook his head, "Despite the locked doors, I could've let them out at anytime should it be necessary." He assured the blond man with a light chuckle and a friendly face.
"I see..." He let out a sigh of relief and looked towards his comrades.
Cipher placed a hand on the man's shoulder. "During the hours they've stayed here. I've learned a great deal about Re-Estize and the Adventurer's Guild. As well as your crew," he spoke with a smug smirk across his lips now.
"Haha, oh really?"
"Oh... No kidding. So why did you want to know about us?"
"Same reason you wanted to know about me," he licked his lips slightly, looking over him.
"You wanted to know if we were a threat," The leader of the party let out a sigh.
He shrugged and looked him over, "You're too weak to be a threat."
"That's reassuring," Peter snickered as he looked at Cipher, shaking his head.
"Would you four mind staying here for a few days?" Cipher asked curiously, "think of it as a vacation."
"Vacation...?" Peter asked as he looked at the man, before glancing over towards the friends he had brought here to this fortress. They were surrounded by powerful people, but were they really all that scary? Lukrut was playing cards and his two spell casters were just relaxing. "A few days... I'll talk it over with them. If anything we'll stay the night."
With that Peter walked off to join his friends at the kotatsu table to enjoy a drink.
Cipher couldn't help but smile watching those friends enjoy there time here. A strange sense of nostalgia came over him. Remembering the times he had spent with the two other members of his Guild. How they'd pretend to be drunk during and after a party full of alcoholic items.
Wiping his mouth, stretching his skin a bit as his hand left his face, he turned to look towards Sir Gallifrey. He was standing with fifteen other Guardians, a surrogate family that only until not too long ago, weren't sentient. All of which were different races.
Sir Gallifrey was an Alpha Werewolf. Min on the other hand was a Daywalker, a half-vampire. She now had some light Japanese armor draped over her Miko Priestess outfit. She's a warrior priestess.
Then there was the Dark Elf, Yulia, she was small and portable. She was roughly a hundred years old, but didn't look a day over sixteen. She wore black light armored robes, her primary class being an assassin enforcer and her secondary being a Battle Mage. The Unique combination allowed the use of both light warrior weapons, enchantments and magic casting.
There was Omega Omega, a humanoid metal golem with circuit board etchings all over its body. He was considered a tank, and his presence itself was almost a cheat itself as he was made from Divine and legendary materials. He had sleek black skin, each part of his body was masterfully carved by hand and glowing emerald green eyes which could pierce just about anyone's psyche.
Kyle, he was dressed in brown rags. He was another Golem, this one being made out of straw. He had the unique ability to possess the bodies of the recently deceased and use powerful psychic attacks on intruders.
Cassi was a young looking Orcish humanoid with two large teeth protruding from behind her lower lips. She had an elegant shaped jawline and brown almond shaped puppy-like eyes and a half shaved head. She wore a cat face printed white and blue kimono with black flowing trousers. She had two swords, two swords at her hip and one spear on her back. She also had a black hooded cloak wrapped around her shoulders, acting like a poncho of sorts.
Uylesseus was the tallest of the bunch, he'd literally have to duck to get out the front double doors of the Citadel. He was seated rather than standing. His species was that of a giant with grey skin and white hair. There was an old fleshy scar under one eye and a long goatee under his chin.
Then there was the Cat Girl, she was dressed as an Eastern Pirate with a fish patterns pattern on her clothes. She had dark chestnut toned skin, black hair in pigtails with split ends and fringed bangs. She had a round head and big black eyes that followed Cipher around the room wherever he went. The staring was so intense, he could almost hear the static thoughts of her brain. She was about the same height as Yulia, resembling someone who was in their twenties but looked realistically younger than their true age. Her name was Keri.
These eight were the top NPC guardians, even Ainz had trouble sparing with them during his visit to the Citadel over a year ago while in game. These eight were also designed by him, most importantly, while the other eight were designed by his two other friends.
All the females made by him however, had one thing in common, their breast sizes weren't extravagant. Their base facial features and dimensions were based on his deceased sister, making them a reminder and a tribute of sorts. They weren't built with the intention to be sentient servants or complicated interactions.
Jeff was a Spider, a giant were-spider. In human form he looked like just about any other popular poster boy with a clean shaven face, darkened boy scout hair and soft blue eyes.
Ani on the other hand was a Greater Mimic who's default form had been changed to that of a young woman with dirty blond hair, striking electric blue eyes and a heart shaped jawline. His friend always declared Ani to be the female appearance of Cipher himself. He found it awkwardly flattering.
Sulfuri was a Magma Nymph, her skin was like charcoal with oozing red cracks throughout her body and the entirety of her eyes looked like moving lava. She'd be fatal against just about anything that didn't have a resistance or magic immunity to extreme heat. Out of everyone she wore the least amount of clothes, mainly being a loin cloth and a band of flame retardant cloth over her above average sized breasts.
It was clear she wasn't made by Cipher.
The argumentatively cutest one of the group was the one sitting cross legged and slouched forward watching the group with their chin in their hands, elbows planted on the floor. It was Andi the Dryad, their true body being a Bonsai Tree up in Cipher's study. Her body was akin to that of a twelve year old and was completely covered in bark the same color pale as the Bonsai's trunk. She was considered to be hundreds of years old according to her backstory. Her main attributes being wisdom and intelligence.
Pyri was an Elfish Ghoul, she had long black hair reaching down to her waist, sickly pale skin and red-green ringed eyes. She had small fangs poking out from behind her upper lips. Despite her small size she was the strongest amongst the Guardians made by Cipher's friends. She was dressed in a set of sturdy black robes.
Ross was a human bard, one of the only normal guardians to the naked eye. His primary attack was using a single spell over and over again.
This spell was known as Author Says. This makes his songs come to life in the form of story characters that fight on his behalf. He had shoulder length blond hair, hazel grey eyes and a Van Dyke beard. He was like the blond Robert Downey Jr. in appearance only.
Roberta was an Imperial Slime, a premium species similar to the predatory Slime, which takes the form of a human being. However they aren't hollow on the inside and are impervious to physical damage. She often takes the form of a Iron Chief, as she is a master cook, and ironically a military cleaver being her primary weapon allows her to get close enough to burn her opponents by simply touching them. She was named after her creator's grandmother.
Her hobby is cooking in abundance.
The last Guardian however is known as Chance, a talking black and tan Shiba Inu with a knife held in its mouth with grace. Its tail was currently wiggling side to side with excitement. There was so much going on.
As he had been observing his Guardians, he turned his head to look towards the Adventurer Party who was now all gathered at the kotatsu. Lukrut was showing them the scraps(cards) he got from the soldiers, while Peter was trying to have a serious conversation with the other two.
Lukrut was being completely ignored, something that from a distance, he didn't seem to mind.
Turning to look over at the Guardians once more, Cipher quickly noticed all eyes were on him.
Smiling at them, he walked on over to the group and gestured for those standing to sit before him. "As you probably already heard from my conversation with the.." He stopped himself from referring to the guests as lesser lifeforms as he considered himself human, "Guests. We are no longer in YGGDRASIL and we're within the borders of the Re-Estize Kingdom."
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The group of sixteen all nodded their heads in sync as they were now seated in a circle around Cipher. All of them wanted to have their eyes on him. It was quite.. strange really.
At least they didn't sound like fanatics, but he could see the great admiration towards him. If they had outstanding personalities and a written allure towards him, he was sure he'd end up like Ainz, puzzled.
Though part of this just made him believe he was having a reading circle with a bunch of adult children. It was a very uncanny feeling despite knowing their actual intelligence.
"For the time being, we are to be on alert and focus our skills towards intelligence gathering. Half of you have surveying and surveillance magic, use that to your advantage. Those who don't are on guard duty."
"Yes my Lord." They all stated at once, all of them drawing themselves to one knee with a single fist to the ground as their eyes shined.
Cipher was silent for a moment looking at them all around him. It was like he was on the top of the world or something. The awkward feeling was soon fleeting and now he was just taken a back by the motion of life which now surrounded him. His and his friends creations were alive.
In a way, it made him happy that they were at least indirectly here with him.
"I am in your care," Cipher bowed his head to those whom were entirely at his beck and call.
"WE. Are in your care." They bowed their heads in response to him, vowing they'd all take care of each other and in the end they were like a family of assorted individuals.
"What are you guys talking about?" Peter chuckled as he was now standing at the edge of the circle, looking over at the interesting collection of servants. What caught his eye though the most was the monsters. The Vampire, the Ghoul and the other lot.
He was surprised, but seeing them on one knee made them look almost harmless. Such a powerful being made these things subservient to him?
Peter and the rest let their sights rest back on Cipher who was standing in the center, turning to look back at them and return their gaze.
"Informing them of the current situation," was as much as he would tell them. "You are dismissed guardians." They all nodded, jumped to their feet and scattered to their posts.
Seeing these organized beings, Peter was beginning to fear the power that he was just admiring. A man who could not only bring a whole fortress to another location and command all these people, just what kind of destruction could he be capable of?
"Would you mind if I joined you?"
"Join us?" Peter asked, folding his arms in front of him skeptical expression.
Cipher glanced over at Ninya then back towards Peter. "I agreed to help Ninya recover her sister amongst other things for the information provided. They're trivial and will help me continue to gain more information about this place."
Ninya's expression twitched uncomfortably when he referred to his promises as trivial matters, he was treating saving her sister teaching her more magic and acquiring a Sword of Darkness as mere meaningless milestones.
"So I'd like to join your party, and the Adventurer's Guild."
"You need to take a literacy test."
"I can read and write Japanese and English."
"..." The four of them just looked at him as if he was speaking gibberish. There was apparently no such thing as Japanese or English writing systems in this world. "In that case, as we'll be taking that vacation you offered, we'll teach you how to read and write."
"Oi..." Cipher placed a hand on his forehead, he didn't really mind this, but it did feel tedious. "Alright."