Damn, this was a huge chapter. Twice as long as any of the previous 3.
Sorry I didn’t get it out sooner, I was a bit lacking in motivation after chapter 3, also distracted by errands and phone games and reading light novels and stuff. I’m also going to be busy this weekend, so I’ll see if I can finish 5 tomorrow, otherwise it will probably go up on Monday.
Chapter 4 – The Great Naval Battle of Rodenius
Central Calendar year 1639, April 25th, Port of Myhak
In response to the 4,000-ship fleet dispatched by the Kingdom of Rowlia, at the naval base in Myhak’s port, Kua Toine’s 2nd fleet was finally sending off its warships. Each ship folded its sails and gathered in the port. Sailors double-checked the ladders they would be using to board enemy ships. Unlit fire arrows were soaked in oil and stored away. Wooden shields to protect against the enemy’s arrows were affixed at regular intervals. Ballistae were installed on each ship. In total, there were about fifty ships.
“Isn’t this a magnificent sight…,” Admiral Pancarre murmured to himself while watching the sea. “But they’ve got more than four thousand ships… I wonder how many men I can keep alive…”
He chided himself for voicing his true thoughts. There was no sense in giving up early, even in the face of impossible odds.
“Admiral, we’ve received a message from navy headquarters,” reported executive officer Breweye.
Tonight, 8 destroyers from the nation of Japan will arrive at Myhak as reinforcements. They request an observer to join them and witness the commencement of hostilities with the Kingdom of Rowlia.
“What?! Only eight ships??!! Are you sure there isn’t some mistake? Shouldn’t it be eighty or eight hundred?”
“There were no mistakes, sir.”
“I appreciate all offers of support, but… they want an observer? If they only have eight ships, I’m just sending that person to die with them! They’re clearly off their rocker. I can’t possibly send one of my subordinates over!”
There was an awkward silence.
“…then send me,” Breweye stated.
“I’m the best fighter you’ve got, so I’ve got the best chance of surviving out of all your officers. But you forget, that monster of a ship was from Japan. Maybe they’re not as crazy as you think.”
“I’m sorry… I’ll leave it to you.”
Same day, evening
Breweye could not believe his eyes. The size of the ship was completely beyond his common sense. When they had first established contact with Japan, the First Navy reported a 200+ meter ship, but he thought they were just exaggerating. But now, even though the ships were stopping offshore in the distance, he could tell that they were ridiculously huge. They didn’t even have sails. A short time later, a metal-looking object with something spinning on top lifted off from atop the humongous ship.
He received notice of it beforehand, so he knew it was some kind of vehicle. When it got close, it kicked up strong winds. He boarded the unfathomable vehicle and was taken offshore. The seat was soft and there was almost no shaking as they flew through the air. It was slower than a wyvern, but far more comfortable, and it could carry a large number of people. Soon, their destination, a destroyer, came into view. Seeing its size up close, Breweye’s jaw dropped.
(This thing is gigantic! Strategically, larger ships house more crew. You can threaten more enemy ships simply because you have more crew to spare. Knowing that, this monstrosity’s value in combat is enormous, and that’s only considering its crew size.)
Breweye considered the destroyer based on his own combat sense.
- Helicopter destroyer Izumo
- Length: 248 meters
- Displacement: 19,500 tonnes
- Construction cost: 114 billion JPY
With the ability to launch up to 5 helicopters simultaneously, the Izumo was the largest escort ship in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. They alighted onto the ship, which was spacious enough for two average cavalries to battle each other.
Was it… made out iron? How did it float in the sea? Breweye’s questions were endless. He went below decks at the direction of the SDF. It was… very bright inside. Was something being burned? Or did they use light magic? Was the entire ship run with magic?
Breweye was brought to the ship’s captain.
“I’m Captain Yamamoto.”
“Observer from the Principality of Kua Toine, Second Navy, my name is Breweye. We are grateful for your assistance in this endeavor.”
“To jump right in, we’ve determined the location of the enemy force’s ships. They’re about five hundred kilometers west of our position. They are currently moving slowly, at a speed of five knots. We will depart tomorrow morning and engage them at their position. Once there, we will request for them to turn back or face hostile fire. So, until tomorrow, please be at ease.”
Breweye was astonished—they planned to take on the entire fleet of 4,400 ships alone, without cooperating with the Kua Toinan navy! Their ships were clearly enormous and could accommodate countless raiders, but, with only 8 ships, it was still suicidal to go up against such a huge number. He was also wary of the fact that he saw no ballistae or ways to defend against fire arrows.
Next day, early morning
The destroyer flotilla set off.
Breweye was stunned.
(How many times am I supposed to feel like this?! It’s like I’m permanently in a state of shock!)
These ships were so fast! They were currently moving faster than a Kua Toinan ship’s top speed. Aside from that… the other ships were pretty far away. Wouldn’t it be better to stay in close formation?
The flotilla traveled west at a speed of 20 knots. Eventually, the Rowlian fleet appeared on the horizon.
Kingdom of Rowlia, eastern subjugation navy Vice-Admiral Schaukun
“What a beautiful view.”
Ships crawled forward over the vast ocean, their sails billowed with wind. Numbering 4,400, crewed by multiple times as many sailors who would later become the landing party, they were heading for the commercial city of Myhak.
‘The only things in sight were ships.’ Or… ‘the sea had been completely covered in ships.’ Perhaps that was a better way to express it.
After spending 6 years preparing, along with the assistance of the Papaldia Empire, their great fleet was finally complete. No force on Rodenius could stop it. In fact, they could even challenge Papaldia with this fleet!
His ambitions began to run wild. But then, cold logic reined in his delusions of grandeur. He remembered that Papaldia had a weapon called a “gunboat” that was rumored to specifically combat enemy ships… It was still too dangerous to challenge one of the Third Civilization’s superpowers.
Schaukun gazed out at the ocean to the east… hm? Something was coming towards them. Were they dragons? No … Wait! What were they?!
It was some kind of manmade, insect-shaped thing, making a loud pounding noise as it got closer. Any person who caught sight of a strange, unidentifiable object flying straight at them would feel a tendril of fear squirm its way into their heart.
<<This is the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Your country authorized a massacre at the Kua Toinan town of Gim. Due to that incident, we cannot allow your fleet to proceed. Turn back at once. I repeat———>>
There was a person riding inside the object and somehow talking to us…
Someone shot an arrow at it. After that, it turned around in the sky and flew away to the east.
A short time later, a small island came into view. The island was… moving…? Impossible! Was that a ship?!
The island-sized ship approached at a frightening speed, then turned to match the speed and direction of the fleet. It positioned itself alongside the frontmost row of ships, about 300 meters away.
<<Turn around immediately, or we will fire on your fleet! I repeat, turn around immediately, or we will fire on your fleet!!!>>
While their ship was truly enormous, they were picking a fight with 4,400 ships. Vice-Admiral Schaukun ordered the fleet to attack.
The fleet turned to the right and began to close in on the escort ship. Once they were within 200 meters, the ships in range began shooting fire arrows at the enemy ship. Ballista had a maximum firing range of 100 meters, so they were not used.
Even though they seemed to have no effect whatsoever, the enemy ship still moved out of range of the fire arrows. It speedily traveled about 3 kilometers away from the fleet then turned around.
“Haaaahahahahahahaaa, look at them run!!!”
The sailors, out of earshot, insulted and jeered at the enemy ship. Vice-Admiral Schaukun felt his worries melt away at the sight.
“Heh, they ran away. Even at that size, with only a single ship, there was nothing they could do anyway. But… it was very fast for such a big ship. To think they could achieve that speed even without any wind…”
“We’ve taken fire. Engaging the enemy fleet. Ready the main gun!”
In the bow of the Aegis BMD-equipped destroyer Myoukou, a 127mm rapid fire gun turned to point at the opposing fleet. The sharp-eyed Schaukun watched the movement curiously.
“What’s that stick thing?”
A moment later, there was a thunderous boom. They were only 3 kilometers away; to the Myoukou, they were still in close range.
“What happened? Did they blow themselves up?” Schaukun wondered to himself.
Right after that thought, the ship at the front of the fleet exploded. Pieces of wood, other ship parts, and human remains rained down on the surrounding closely-packed ships. The shell had hit the ship that was firing arrows. The remains sank under their own weight, taking with them anyone on board who happened to survive the blast.
“What?! What the hell happened?! Were we attacked from that distance?!?”
Having never experienced this level of firepower before, everyone was flabbergasted.
“This isn’t good! But… we’re barely in wyvern range. Communications! Request wyvern assistance! We’ve engaged the enemy’s flagship!”
“Hopefully they’re so shocked that they’ll just withdraw…”
The captain of the Aegis ship Myoukou, Unabara, wanted to avoid unnecessary casualties. He was putting on a show, to make them understand they were outmatched and convince them turn back. Even if he were to be labeled a pacifist, he sincerely wished they would just go home. In fact, because they were in disarray, because they were slowing down and acting cautious, he thought, perhaps…
“Hooo… all right, so that demon power can’t be used again right away,” Schaukun sighed in relief, coming to this mistaken conclusion due to the lack of a follow-up attack. “Slow down the fleet. Attack in concert with wyvern air support!”
Kingdom of Rowlia, Wyvern Headquarters
“Communications from the eastern subjugation navy, sir. They believe they have engaged with the enemy flagship, a giant metal ship, and are requesting air support.”
“Oho, the enemy’s flagship… Request granted. Send three hundred and fifty fully-equipped wyverns.”
“B-But sir… the advance force already took a hundred and fifty wyverns, we won’t have enough to send with the main force…”
“Were my orders unclear? Send them. If they’re fighting the enemy’s flagship, there will be a big battle. They’ll have time between now and when our main force mobilizes.”
Wyverns, one after another, flew up into the sky.
In the Myoukou’s operations room, they already knew what was coming. When 350 flying objects appeared on radar, it became obvious that the enemy was not giving up.
“This is… unfortunate. We tried to let them off easy, but instead we’ve only put more lives in danger. Once they’re in range, shoot them down.”
All of a sudden, smoke floated up from the giant ship 3 kilometers away. Shortly after, a trail of light also flew out and passed through the Rowlian fleet. After that, from the back end of the giant ship, something popped out and flew in the same direction. And then, even after that, a bunch of somethings came out of the back of the ship and flew off at high speeds. With all these unknown things happening, Vice-Admiral Schaukun couldn’t help the feeling of dread from making his blood run cold, but he concentrated on giving orders.
“The wyvern squadron should reach us soon. When they do, all ships attack with them.”
Unfortunately, tragedy struck the wyvern squadron. Out of nowhere, 23 wyverns exploded and fell to the sea, burned black. Seconds later, another 12, then a few seconds later, yet another 18. One after another, they lifelessly fell out of the air. No such thing had ever been witnessed in history. After the brief storm had passed, their numbers were reduced from 350 to 200. The rest of the squadron began to panic, but by then the fleet was in sight.
200 wyverns had arrived to join the Rowlian fleet. Their enemy, further ahead, was an enormous gray ship.
When they tried to attack the Myoukou, it emitted a line of light, hitting wyverns and causing them to fall from the sky like rain. Even though their numbers were quickly dropping, they still stayed on course to the Myoukou. When they were 7 kilometers away, there were only 50 wyverns remaining in the squadron. Unexpectedly, the ship started firing its cannon, taking down one wyvern with each shot. The cannon was reloading much more quickly than the Vice-Admiral thought possible. On top of that, the incomprehensible line of light was still taking them out without pause.
When they got within 3 kilometers, the assault of cannon shells was over. By then, there were only 3 wyverns left.
“Their devilcraft has finally ended! Now, let us avenge our comrades!”
The 3 wyverns opened their mouths, fireballs quickly taking shape. But right then, 2 of those wyverns were shredded apart.
The final wyvern quickly followed suit. The Phalanx CIWS’s 20mm Vulcan cannon had a firing rate of 3,000 rounds/minute, or 50 per second; these last wyverns were in range of the Aegis ship’s final defensive measure.
A dreadful silence loomed over the seas.
No one could believe their eyes. They had all been rendered speechless. To them, ships were not equipped to combat wyverns; defeating even one was an immense task, let alone over 200! Even still, they just watched all of their elite forces get turned into bloody pulp.
Were they dreaming? …No; to their horror, they were most definitely awake.
“Are we… fighting demons?” whispered Schaukun pathetically. He had no idea what kind of expression he was making.
Unfortunately, they had not yet reached the limits of their despair.
Seven more gray ships came into view. What followed would later be known in history as The Great Naval Battle of Rodenius.
Historically, the deciding factor in naval battles on Rodenius was whether sailors could board enemy ships or not. Outside of fringe cases of severe damage from lucky ballista or fire arrow attacks, ships themselves were thought to be indestructible. In the end, everything depended on sailors taking control of other ships or defend from hijackers themselves. There was no existing logic that could predict 4,400 fully-crewed ships losing a battle out here on the frontier. This fleet could have maybe even challenged one of the superpowers in the great civilizations.
The 7 destroyers were each sinking a ship with each attack. It was as though they were conducting training exercises. Even still, 4,400 was a huge number of ships. After 1,400 kills, they were running low on shells.
The Myoukou was approaching the enemy fleet. When it was within 400 meters, it began using its 7mm machine gun to sink ships. But the disaster did not end there. One of the helicopter destroyers joined the battle by launching 5 of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s AH1S Cobras. They were treating the battle like a hunting exhibition. The Rowlian navy was terrorized.
“They’re monsters! We’re all dead! Curse them! Aaahhhhh!”
Ship after ship, they were all being sunk with frightening speed.
“……so it’s over.”
Vice-Admiral Schaukun was completely hopeless. There was nothing he could do. At this rate, all of his men would be killed, almost for sport. However, even if he were to surrender and the entire navy were taken as prisoners of war, after the massacre at Gim, he could not see a future for any Rowlian.
The only possibility left was for them to withdraw, as they had been asked before the battle started. After leading the largest fleet in the history of Rodenius, losing a third of it, then crawling back to his home country in defeat, he would be forever remembered as incompetent and sentenced to death. However, he couldn’t condemn his men to the same fate.
“All ships, retreat! I repeat, all ships retreat!”
The order was echoed magically in every ship.
But when the Vice-Admiral’s flagship began to retreat, it took a direct hit and sank into the sea.
“The enemy is beginning to retreat.”
The order was made to stop attacking.
“They’re abandoning their troops to withdraw? If there are any survivors in the sea, rescue them.”
Finally, the battle was over.
Breweye, the observer from Kua Toine riding in the Izumo, felt numb. Even though he had been listening to the entire thing from the bridge, he didn’t have a sense for what was really going on. Only after seeing the rescue operations taking place in the ocean where the battle took place did he come to realize what had happened. The ocean was covered in the floating remains of war. While he didn’t watch the battle itself, he was able to tell that an overwhelming attack force had completely laid waste to the enemy.
The observer from the Papaldia Empire, Varhal, was shaking. As luck would have it, his ship made it out unharmed. His task was to observe and record the destruction of Kua Toine by way of the 4,400-ship fleet operated by Rowlia. He looked forward to this mission because of a personal interest in how the huge number of ships would interact with primitive weapons like ballistae and primitive tactics like hijacking ships.
However, the enemy ship that appeared was completely beyond his imagination. Even though he couldn’t tell whether they were using Tears of the Wind God to bolster its sails, it was extremely fast. (Or rather, it didn’t even appear to have sails.)
Although it appeared to be a 100-gun warship, even though it was such a large ship, he could only see a single cannon. Was this some kind of joke? While he was surprised to see that kind of cannon in the barbaric region, which wasn’t advanced enough for them yet, this one wasn’t like the ones he knew. Cannons had low accuracy, so the 100-gun warship was invented to offset that. However, even though their ship was 3 kilometers away, every shot was a bullseye. Furthermore, they were sinking an entire ship with each shot.
What was even more surprising was how they fought against wyverns. If it were Papaldia, they would use the Dragon Mother to match wyverns one-to-one. Because barbarian wyverns were weaker than their wyverns, Papaldia would easily win such an encounter.
In the first place, cannons couldn’t hit things in the air; this was simply common sense. However, again, they were able to score direct hits on wyverns with a single shot. This was not something humans could accomplish. This foreign enemy was advancing technologically without their knowledge, and could become a threat to the Papaldia Empire.
Varhal continued observing developments with magic as he completed his report to his country.
TL note: The Japanese ships are all real ones, so you can look up information on the Izumo, Myoukou, and all the stuff related to their weaponry and whatnot on Wikipedia or your information source of choice.
The narration kept switching between parties, so I italicized dialogue that was clearly from another perspective that the current narrator couldn’t hear, and I also added horizontal lines to denote perspective changes when appropriate. It should still be fairly obvious when this is happening, but it was a pretty big departure from the previous chapters, so I felt it was worth doing.