I love it when Ainz isn’t around and the Floor Guardians just shoot the breeze. When Demiurge arrives to find Ainz is away, Albedo asks him why it’s so important he meet with Ainz-sama in person. Demiurge earnestly replies that he wants to be praised, and Albedo gives him a wry, approving look. She gets it.
Different they may be, they’re alike in their undying love and loyalty to their Overlord…as well as their completely overblown opinion of his greatness. Demiurge had his own plans for the Empire stewing, but is in awe when Albedo presents him with its offer to become a vassal state…all after a three-day visit.
That may not have been Ainz’s plan at all, but how others in the world interpret it is what matters. As for where Ainz is, intrigued by his introduction to the Runes of this world he prepares a light procession to bear him to the Dwarven Kingdom to open diplomatic relations.
He enlists the help of the Lizardman Zenberu, and has Aura and Shalltear as bodyguards and lieutenants. Cocytus offers himself as a chair, enraging Shalltear, but Ainz can’t help but be oddly comfortable.
Let me just say how great it is to be in the presence of Shalltear once more after she took the first four episodes off. While she alone could obliterate any country, Ainz’s reason for her coming along on the trip is to expand her horizons and gain some experience in the field. Even the magical equivalent of a strategic nuclear weapon needs to stretch her legs.
There’s a grandeur to the ensuing journey, with the show skimping neither on vast landscapes the party traverses nor the bombastic orchestral score. When Ainz finds a good spot to “make camp”, he basically summons an Isengard in which to spend the night.
As he contemplates whether another player of Yggdrasil taught the Dwarves rune tech, and expresses his confidence in Albedo and Demiurge handling the empire’s request, Aura notices that Shalltear is taking notes … of everything. She tries to get Shalltear to realize that her role isn’t simply to observe and report. After they part ways, Aura fears she’s gained a “dumb little sister”.
The next day, the procession stops at the entrance to the cave that leads to the Dwarven Kingdom, according to Zenberu. Ainz deploys his ninja-like Hanzo to investigate why there are no guards to be found, and they determine that the entire city has been abandoned.
Aura goes in and takes a look around, and meets the latest in a long line of Overlord characters who almost immediately feel fully-realized and dimensional: Gondo Firebeard. With some efficient yet natural exposition, he explains how he is one of a dying breed of Dwarves who still appreciate and treasure Rune carving, the older (and cheaper) way of infusing things with magic.
Despite being descended from a great Runesmith, Gondo considers his smithing abilities to be lacking at best. That modesty is a big part of his instant appeal, as is the fact he’s basically a big old rune nerd, which is right up Ainz’s alley.
He vows to give Gondo all the assistance he needs to revive the old ways…provided of course he pledges his undying loyalty to Ainz Ooal Gown. Gondo is fine with that if it means his father’s legacy will endure, and he’ll be able to pass what he learned to his children.
But a more immediate problem than cultural erasure is upon them once they exit the cave: Shalltear reports a horde of violent Quagoa are all over the place. With fur hard as metal armor and animal ruthlessness, the Quagoa are the reason the Dwarves abandoned this city for a different one.
Ainz gives Shalltear a simple mission: capture the Quagoa and gain information on them. After all, if Ainz plays his cards right this could be a valuable gesture of goodwill to his future Dwarvish allies. With a nod of her head, Shalltear is off, and we get to see her in her impossibly cool grand red battle armor…only not brainwashed this time!
As you’d expect, she makes quick work of the Quagoa, capturing them while her support troops prevent anyone from escaping to expose Ainz’s presence. I particularly likes when Shalltear was surrounded but not one of the dozens of the Quagoas’ blows hit her; the difference in level precludes them from causing her any damage at all.
That said, once detained, the Quagoa leader is in no mood to spill any information … until Shalltear uses a charm spell, and then he’s her best bud. He happily tells them that they work for the Clan Lord Riyuro, tasked with killing any dwarves who escaped in their direction. He says the dwarf city is probably already being attacked and its inhabitants slaughtered.
Once Ainz gets a location, I have no doubt he’ll put a stop to that, making for a heroic introduction to the Dwarven Kingdom. After last week’s stripped down arena fight (which was nevertheless packed with world-building), this episode proves Overlord is just as deft at rendering grand adventures into new lands.