6 「To be or not to be」
It wasn't long before the Head Warrior, Ainz and the Swords of Darkness alongside Cipher and his Guardian were all rounded up in a storage house.
Cipher though didn't seem at all that interested in what was going on other than the fact that the hostiles were targeting innocent civilians. Killing the villagers, massacring them, didn't fit the agenda for invading another country. This was just plain old mass murder.
As he listened in on the conversation between the oversized skeleton and the Head Warrior, he could tell that they were making the assumption that these people weren't from the Empire.
Cipher was already beginning to think this as well. Based on the information shared about the other Kingdom that his Citadel is near the border of, it was likely they wouldn't even bother with Carne Village. There was nothing of note except for the food and supplies.
"The ones that attacked the village..."
"They were dressed as soldiers from the Baharuth empire, but it seems the were actually from the Slane Theocracy."
And according to the Head Warrior hardly any of that was stolen from the previous villages attacked by the supposed Knights of the Baharuth Empire. So it was suffice to say, these men out there surrounding the village had a different target and agenda in mind.
"Does this village have that much value?"
"Sir Gown, if you don't know why they're attacking... Then there is only one reason they are attacking this place." The air was tense, his face was serious. They had realized the reason why.
"It looks like you're quite despised Head Warrior," Ainz said as to point out the obvious. He had come to the conclusion that this was all a diversion to draw the one known as Gazef out into the open.
With all those mages out there, he'd be slaughtered along with his men and the village.
Cipher could step in and destroy the enemies, but he didn't see the point. Though he had some ideas which could motivate him. His eyes gazed over towards the Swords of Darkness. They were eying the mysterious man in the robe.
"This is quite a problem..." Gazef was far from amused, if anyone knew better, one would think he was just about ready to kill someone. "To think that eve the Slane Theocracy is after me." He was saying this with a printed smile of pride.
As Cipher was looking out the window towards the hostile force that cornered the Village, getting ready for an assault. He narrowed his sights on the Archangel Flames, monsters from the game.
This was an interesting development, but even then, these monsters were far weaker than he.
"Sir Gown," Ainz looked over to Gazef as he wanted his attention, "I would like to hire you if possible." His prideful smile in his own abilities vanished and was replaced by a frown. He was dreadfully serious and he wanted Ainz to protect the village. "I will be sure to reward you as you wish."
"I decline." Within a minutes notice, Momonga had declined the offer.
"I see..." With a sigh, it seemed that his bid to win was a far stretch. He half expected himself to die here. However his pride returned, a fighting spirit clear in his eyes. "Then please, take care, Sir Gown. Thank you again for saving this village," he reached out a hand and the two shook each other's hands like men.
It was as if he was saying goodbye. This was evident as it almost appeared like the man was going to break down, "I am really, truly grateful."
"I know this is a selfish request, but please.. Protect the village and its people once more. I have nothing to give you at the moment, but I beg of you. I beg..." When he went to kneel before the man, Ainz stopped him by placing a hand on his shoulder.
Cipher smiled at the sight.
"There is no need for you to go that far," Ainz announced with a profound voice, "I understand. I will be sure to protect the villagers. I will put my name, Ainz Ooal Gown, on the line."
Rising from his half kneeling position, he grinned up at the man. Was this relief? "Then I will have nothing to worry about. I will just focus on the enemy before me."
"Then please, take this." Ainz took out an item, an item which allows one to switch places at a moments notice. It looked like a little wooden idol carved by hand, but it was so much more than that.
"A gift from one such as you? I will accept it gratefully." Gazef hardly held any hesitation as he took hold of the gift and tucked it into his armored belt. "Goodbye..." He said with a bow of the head and went to leave.
"I wish you good luck in battle." Ainz sounded sincere, almost fond, of talking to the person.
However before he left, Gazef paused and looked over towards Cipher who was eying him. "Yes?"
"My name is Cipher," the man rolled his jaw slightly. "I may be of assistance."
Ainz glanced over his shoulder towards the two of them. Was Cipher going to snatch a major event from him? In that moment however, with a slight of hand, Cipher revealed a red potion in an elegant vial.
Gazef raised a brow staring at the item.
"It's a healing potion. Fifth Tier, crafted by myself. If you don't use it, I'm sure it's worth plenty of coin." Even though he didn't know healing potions weren't red in this world, he knew that even in the old one this high tier healing potion was expensive for early-game players.
Nodding and taking the item, Gazef bowed his head, "Thank you... Sir Cipher." With that the man left, leaving the Adventurers, Cipher and Ainz alone together in the building with Albedo.
"You wanted to go out there with him." Ainz pointed out, looking over to Cipher, it was if everyone in the room could feel him smiling under that mask. The most awkward thing though was that, Cipher and Albedo were the only ones who knew he had no lips to do so.
"I suppose," Cipher at least hinted that he wanted to go out there, but sounded a little roundabout rather than direct in the way he said it.
Peter and the rest weren't all that surprised.
Albedo though was looming over Cipher as if he was some sort of threat.
"Who are you to speak so casua--"
"Enough Albedo," Ainz stopped his Head Guardian from berating a likely ally.
Cipher turned his eyes to Albedo, "Huh." He refrained from speaking his mind, as it appeared Momonga, or also better known as Ainz Ooal Gown now, was hiding his identity.
"I find it doubtful that any of them will get passed you," Cipher declared with a yawn, "So I guess we'll head townward." This tossed the Swords of Darkness into confusion.
Cipher could easily wipe the floor with the Slane Theocracy Soldiers, even if they were some form of special forces unit. It was already apparent how powerful he was, and it was also apparent how powerful Ainz was as well.
They just couldn't figure out or understand why they would voluntarily wipe out the people threatening the village and the Head Warrior.
"Good luck Mister Hero," was the last thing he said towards Ainz before turning away. Gesturing for the future partners to join him in his walk out of the building.
When the six of them made their way to the edge of the village, the path leading towards E-Rantel, they came to a stop and glanced over to watch all the soldiers rushing off on horses.
Cipher already predicted that most of those men would die. Even if it wasn't part of the plan, it was hard to imagine them leaving the head warrior to die on his own. What would the honor of that be?
Just seeing the way the soldiers look at Gazef, he could see how much he was idolized.
Cipher wanted to be idolized like that. He wanted to be followed by people, other than just his Guardians. Even if it wasn't into battle, he wanted a posse of new faces.
His eyes moved towards the Swords of Darkness, pursing his lips.
He knew he had a spell that he could use to rewrite their memories, or make them forget him, or even certain things in their past. It was Control Amnesia.
Cipher could make them idolize him! Or at least change their distasteful attitude towards him. The only person he was okay with was Ninya. She was submissive to begin with and he was her benefactor for the time being. She already got magic from him, now all that was left was a Sword of Darkness and her sister. These things were promised to her, even after the rearrangement of the deal.
Though he knew that if he used this ability on them, it had to be on all of them. They were all in close quarters and it was likely they lived together or at least bunked at the same inn.
"What's with that look?" Lukrut asked with a brow raised, "And why didn't you offer to wipe the battleground with those Slane Theocracy soldiers? Judging by the company you keep at home, you should hate them."
"Hate them...?" Cipher kept his attention on Lukrut as they were walking slowly, keeping an eye on and an ear out for the battle.
"They're human supremacists. They persecute other species they deem lesser than themselves," Peter answered for Lukrut with a frown across his lips.
"Hm..." Cipher kept his gaze in the direction of the horse riding soldiers charging through the ranks of the enemy special forces units. "You have a point. Racism, not really a fan of it."
"You gonna change your mind?" Lukrut teased, trying to get Cipher to fight.
Cipher instead ignored him, "I wonder what would happen if I were to turn their leadership into nonhumans. Elves maybe, or maybe into orcs. Think they'll still rule the same way?"
Gallifrey chuckled at this, the first sound he had made in a while since they arrived. "Good one my Lord," he praised his master for the joke, though it wasn't necessary.
The group imagined it, the chaos that would sow into the Theocracy.
"You know..." Cipher was thinking about the whole Adventurer thing. If he were to join the Guild, he'd have to abide by certain rules. Rules which restricted his actions and tempered his moral core.
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Did he really want to join them? Sure it would be fun to go around with a merry gang and do quests, but couldn't he do that without joining the Guild? Like work as a Contractor of Sorts? A freelancer.
"Maybe I'll be an unofficial member of your party, rather than an actual adventurer." He didn't need reward for helping with the quests. He could just happen to hang around them and travel.
"A regular companion."
"A wise choice, My Lord." Gallifrey nodded with a joyous tone of voice.
Peter eased up a bit, but at the same time, he was curious of why he was changing his mind all of a sudden. Had he been asking to join the Guild on a whim? Was he not serious about it? Or was he just playing games? He couldn't quite tell with him, he appeared a little airy.