Ainz wants to create a kingdom he can be proud to show his colleagues, regardless of whether they’ll ever return to this world (or if they are here, come out of hiding). It’s a noble desire, and one that will possibly require more than Albedo’s iron fist or Demiurge’s diamond-sharp mind. He seems to know that even if he personally isn’t up to snuff, it might just ultimately take other humans—i.e. lower life forms his subordinates despise.
Re-Estize took a lickin’ when it lost E-Rantel, but it keeps on tickin’, with Renner even opening a huge and elaborate orphanage for the children of those lost in the war. Tina and known Momon Fangrl Evil Eye accompany Renner and her beloved dog-knight Climb as she returns to the palace, where Prince Zanac is about to meet the Sorcerer Kingdom’s envoy.
Brain, on the other hand, simply trains, resigned to the long game of training some of the orphans into becoming the next Gazef; when his teacher asks why he doesn’t take on the mantle of Top Warrior, Brain intimates that he’s just not up to it. Having watched what Ainz did to Gazef, that’s no surprise.
When the envoy—our girl Lady Albedo—does arrive at Re-Estize, she carries herself with all the weight and stature such a position entails (her carriage is also pulled by a shimmering golden demon horse, which can’t hurt). Zanac doesn’t need Renner to tell him he needs to be on his best behavior.
On slightly less than his best behavior is one Philip Dayton L’Eyre Monterrat, the surviving son of a poor barony with only one village that also happens to be positioned neatly between the two kingdoms. Philip breaks etiquette and protocol by being the first of the nobles at the ball to welcome Albedo and introduce himself.
Phil later tells his dad that this is what their domain needs: to build ties with the Sorcerer Kingdom for favorable treatment when an invasion inevitably comes. To this end, he’s invited Albedo to another ball at the stately home of the rich commoner Hilma Cygnaeus.
Hilma, who has a very distinctive face, sees “potential” in Philip, and looks forward to benefiting from the power he gains in the future as a result of her financial and logistical support in the present. She even lets the brat co-host an event being held in her home. As he escorts and even puts his arm around Albedo, it’s clear how out of his league Phil is, but you can’t help but admire his ambition. At least he’s trying to do something to stem the tide of ruin for his domain!
As we learn when Albedo retires to her chambers, Hilma is in league with Albedo to secure a “puppet”, and Albedo is happy with one as stupid as Philip, despite his impropriety and stupid smirk. Perhaps a little more juicy is the fact that either behind Zanac’s back or with his tacit support, Princess Renner herself is bending the knee to Albedo, helping to smuggle goods into E-Rantel in exchange for a blue magical box Renner is confident she’ll be able to open.
While stubborn mules like Brain simply slow down what they see as an eventual turnaround in fortune somewhere far down a road he won’t be alive to see, operators like Renner and Philip are getting in early while the getting’s good. If Ainz and his ilk can’t be defeated by other individual or force in this world, they might as well make nice.