The air was heavy.
It was a literal expression, not a metaphor. This was the only way I could describe the atmosphere when I entered the conference room.
It was a much larger and slightly darker space than I had imagined.
The first thing that came into sight was the huge round table in the center, and the five people sitting around it… no, beings.
“Welcome Fifth Lord and Chief of Staff.”
Breaking the silence, an old man’s benevolent voice resounded.
It was a voice from a dwarf occupying a seat at the round table.
He was short, tanned skin, and had a thick beard that extended under his chin.
Above all, his rock-like muscular body was clearly visible, even from a distance.
There was only one being that could have all those features—a dwarf.
I also knew who he was.
The First Lord—the Wiseman, Agor.
All the gazes of the Lords of the Round Table, including him, were directed our way.
“Oh, it’s been a while old Agor.”
The Mad Lord approached one of the empty seats and sat down.
Other than that, there was no other greeting.
It’s just that the gazes filled with question were still lingering on Dayphon and I.
The Third Lord—the Heavenly Palace, the Second Lord—the Thunder Lord, the Sixth Lord, the Tyrant, and the Eight Lord, the Black Sea Empress. I also looked at their faces and matched them with the names in my memory one by one.
The lords of Calderic were of completely different races and characteristics, so it was easy to see who was who at a glance.
Is the Overlord not here?
Hadn’t she reached the conference room yet?
Besides the Overlord, the fourth, seventh, and ninth Lords were nowhere to be seen.
It was unknown whether they had not yet arrived or were absent altogether.
“By the way, who is the human next to you?”
The First Lord—the Wiseman, asked Dayphon.
As he explained to the Mad Lord earlier, Dayphon introduced me again.
“This is an honored guest brought in from the outside. The Overlord permitted him to attend the meeting.”
The reaction of the Lords to those words were varied.
“The Overlord gave… permission?”
The Wiseman, who asked, muttered in a mixture of doubt and surprise.
“Huh? What’s with this situation?”
The Eight Lord, the Black Sea Empress, rested her chin on the table and expressed interest.
“Anyway, our Overlord really prepared something good. At least this meeting hasn’t been boring from the start.”
The Tyrant also laughed as if he was having fun.
The Third Lord, the Heavenly Palace, was staring blankly into space as if he was not interested.
In the first place, he hadn’t even looked this way from the very beginning.
“Why did the Overlord allow an outsider to attend the Lords’ council?”
The only one who showed negative emotions was the Second Lord, the Thunder Lord.
An elf with long, sky-blue hair and long, pointy ears looked at me with blatantly displeased eyes.
I also don’t know why I’m here, so don’t look at me like that.
Then, the Mad Lord giggled and intervened.
“The Overlord gave permission, simple as that. Why are you acting strict and arguing here, kid?”
The Thunder Lord turned her gaze and glared at her.
“I already warned you not to call me ‘kid’, Fifth Lord.”
“Did you do that? What can I say? Something probably blocked my ears.”
At the Mad Lord’s act of pricking up her ears as if teasing, the Thunder Lord only clicked her tongue.
I just stood there and watched the scene.
As I was thinking about whether I should keep standing like this, Dayphon guided me to my seat.
“Please sit over here.”
So I took a seat at the round table and sat down.
Of course, I didn’t return the interest given by the other Lords.
Oh, I hate it. This kind of atmosphere.
Above all, the Eighth Lord, the Black Sea Empress, who was sitting in the seat in front of me, made me feel quite burdened by just her presence.
The moth-like antennae on the forehead, the huge membrane wings on the back, and the appearance of a mixture of human skin and insect exoskeleton were so grotesque that it was hard to look at her.
Don’t talk to me, please.
Among these monsters, all I could do was keep my eyes on the air and shut up with a blank expression.
As I was having such a hard time, the door to the meeting room opened again and someone came in.
It was a maid.
A woman who entered the meeting hall alone bowed her head in greeting, approached the round table, and set down the teacups one by one.
Somehow, a more strange atmosphere filled the air.
The appearance of an ordinary attendant setting drinks before the start of the meeting shouldn’t be a cause for worry.
But I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Or more precisely, to the number above her head.
That’s right, there’s no way an ordinary maid could have an insane level that could overwhelm even the other Lords.
…What the hell should I do with this?
“I wonder when the Overlord is going to arrive? Time is almost up.”
The Black Sea Empress smiled at me and muttered slyly.
“She’ll be here soon. Just wait patiently while we have tea.”
Contrary to what he said, the Tyrant, who drank the steaming tea at once, licked his lips and asked the Fifth Lord.
“By the way, I heard you went to Brunhel, Fifth Lord. Was there anything interesting you want to share?”
“Don’t act familiar with me, you vampiric bastard.”
However, she mercilessly dismissed the question with a different cold voice from before.
The Tyrant shrugged his shoulders as if he was already used to such an attitude.
“How cold. I don’t know why you’re always impatient with me. Aren’t I likable? Don’t you think so, Second Lord?”
“Who would like something vulgar like you? I’ve said it many times, but don’t talk to me unnecessarily.”
“You are all too much. Didn’t we just fight on the same side earlier?”
Listening to those useless conversations, I fell into trouble.
How long did I have to watch this absurd play?
Can I test something?
Looking at the maid who came to my side one last time and set down the teacup, I opened my mouth and said;
The maid’s movement froze.
“When are you going to end this prank?”
The other lords all looked this way with an expression of surprise.
Even the Third Lord, the Heavenly Palace, who had never looked at me before.
Only then did the maid, who threw off her mask, took a step back and burst into laughter.
“I heard you saw through Dayphon’s stealth at one glance. It’s been a while since a really interesting guest like you came.”
The master of all Calderic and the head of the Nine Lords.
And one of the people closest to the strongest in the worldview of RaSa.
In an instant, a black aura wrapped around her whole body. And in the blink of an eye, it transformed her into a completely different person.
Her waist-length jet-black long hair and eyes, and even the clothes she was wearing, changed from a maid’s uniform to a bright dress.
After walking to the seat of honor at the round table, she slumped down in her seat, fluttering the hem of her dress.
Dayphon, who had been standing near the entrance of the conference hall until just now, moved behind her and stood still.
“Let’s see, the Fourth and Ninth Lords are absent because they’re busy with their own business.”
The Overlord’s gaze, which was looking around the round table, turned to the Wiseman.
“First Lord must have been busy, but you still worked hard and took part today.”
At those words, the Wiseman shook his head gently.
“It’s not a big deal, Overlord. It’s my duty as a Lord to attend the Lords’ Council unless it’s unavoidable.”
The Overlord turned her gaze to the Thunder Lord, this time with a faint smile.
“Second Lord, you look like you have a lot to say, don’t you?”
“How are you, Overlord?”
The Thunder Lord nodded, glanced at me, and continued;
“It’s just hard to fathom the Overlord’s intentions in bringing an outside to the meeting.”
“Haha, is the Second Lord asking what I was thinking, doing such a thing?”
The Overlord smiled and waved her hand.
“Since everyone would gather here, I just wanted to make sure that I invited someone suitable.”
…Suitable? For what?
Then, she clapped her hands as if to lighten up the atmosphere.
“Okay then, let’s start the meeting! The first agenda, as you can see, is the recruitment of a new talent. Did you hear about it from the chief of staff?”
The attention of the Lords was focused again, and the Overlord smiled and made eye contact with me.
“First, I want you to tell me your name directly.”
This was the start.
There was no particular crisis yet, but I couldn’t let go of the tension.
Something had confused me ever since the Overlord appeared.
What was the reason for bringing me, a complete outsider, to the meeting of the Lords and sitting in this seat, as the Thunder Lord said?
I don’t think she would want me to fight with the Lords just to test my abilities…
“Okay. Then, Sir Ron, what is your purpose in coming to Calderic?”
…What kind of interview was this?
I was quite nervous because a more ordinary question came than what I thought.
I stared at her without answering the question right away.
“Ah, of course, I know it was our chief of staff who suggested it first. What I’m curious about is why you agreed.”
“Honestly, I’m in a state of shock right now. A person as powerful as you suddenly visit the castle. With your ability, it’s enough for enjoying whatever you want, wherever you want, as long as it’s a goal involving wealth and fame. So, what’s the special reason for coming to Calderic?”
Special reason my foot.
This place was just the only option I had after facing a dead end. There’s nothing more to that.
I knew all the Overlord’s abilities.
I knew it would be useless to lie, so I answered as honestly as I could.
“There is no specific purpose.”
The Overlord narrowed her eyes.
As if to gauge the true meaning of my words.
“…It’s just as I heard from Dayphon. Then, are you saying that you came here purely out of interest?”
She smiled again, raising the corners of her mouth, and nodded her head while humming, ‘good, good’.
She looked like a boyish girl, but I didn’t find it cute at all.
Because I knew the truth hidden inside was a monster that was nearly a thousand years old.
What you see now was just a polymorph shell, not her real body.
So, what’s the point?
Anyway, I was sure I didn’t end up sitting in this meeting just for those questions.
This was the real beginning.
I waited patiently for the words to follow.
The Overlord’s mouth opened again.
“Sir Ron, do you want to become a Lord?”