And this chapter was pretty short comparatively, so it was pretty painless to finish in a day.
Chapter 5 – After the Naval Battle
Kingdom of Rowlia, Wyvern Headquarters
350 dragon riders were mobilized to engage with the enemy’s main fleet. 3 hours have passed since the last communication with them, which had ended in screaming. There was a heavy silence in the headquarters. Why hadn’t they reestablished communications? Furthermore, why hadn’t any of the dragon riders come back yet? Everyone was consumed with impatience and nervousness.
“So where are they?”
No one had an answer.
It was unthinkable, but… could they have been wiped out?
Throughout Rodenius’s history, the wyvern was always the strongest creature. However, they were also a rare, valuable species, and it was hard to gather a large number of them. Rowlia’s rookery of 500 came from a combination of building up forces for 6 years and receiving assistance from the Papaldia Empire, with the stipulation that they be used to conquer Rodenius. With their overwhelming strength, it should have been a matter of course for them to take over the continent. Upon sending the 350 dragon riders to deal with the enemy’s main forces, this elite squadron should have put on a historically meritorious performance before returning to base.
In reality, so far not a single one had returned. It was extremely painful to consider, but there was a high chance that they had been completely annihilated. Under normal conditions, even against an abnormally large fleet, it should be impossible to take out all 350 dragon riders.
Was it possible that their enemies were serving the legendary holy dragon Bahamut? No one knew how to report this to King Rowlia.
“…tell the advance force that, by emergency order, the dragon rider order requests that half of their dragon riders return to headquarters.”
Central Calendar year 1639, April 30th, Principality of Kua Toine, governmental meeting
“This concludes the report on the large naval battle in Rodenius’s waters.”
Officer Breweye, who had observed the battle, was invited to the meeting to give the report and serve as reference. All other attendees had in their hands printed copies of the battle report. The room was completely silent.
“So, what kind of report is this exactly? Japan sent out only eight ships, challenged Rowlia’s fleet of forty-four hundred, then actually sunk fourteen hundred of them? On top of that, they faced over three hundred dragon riders with no air support, but turned them all into mincemeat? And on top of that, their eight ships suffered no casualties? It’s written here ‘personnel loss: zero.’ No one died?! And let me just add that our fleet sat around doing nothing.
If you told me that this was a fairy tale, I’d have said ‘no, this is far too outlandish for a fairy tale!’ I don’t want to accuse a navy officer of coming to a state meeting and deliberately lying his ass off, but you need to at least keep your story grounded in reality and not give us this pile of fantasy horse shit.”
Everyone thought pretty much the same; the observer’s report was that unbelievable.
“Didn’t you guys in Foreign Affairs say they would only send the bare minimum in reinforcements?”
People started lobbing insults around. By all rights, repelling Rowlia’s invasion and alleviating some of the national crisis should be cause for celebration, but this battle report was just so absurd that it actually raised people’s fears instead.
Prime Minister Kanata motioned for silence and made to speak. “In any case, the naval invasion was stopped this time. While there are still around three thousand enemy ships at large, even if the eight reinforcement ships were to be lost, we have earned some time before we need to worry about another seaborne attack. Does the Ministry of Military Affairs have any news on the ground war?”
“Currently, Rowlia has begun construction in the area around Gim. After the failure of the naval invasion, we believe they are strengthening Gim’s defenses in order to resume their ground invasion. That being the case, we have determined that any strategies to break through their defense lines are no longer viable,” the minister reported. “With regards to Japan, they have requested approval to use a nine square kilometer area in the Dytle Plains, thirty kilometers west of the capital of Kua Toine.”
“Right in between Gim and the capital… do they want to build a military camp there?”
“They did say it would be pivotal for opposing the ‘rogue armed forces’…”
“There’s nothing else in those plains, and the land there isn’t very fertile… all right. Foreign Affairs, approve Japan’s request. They can use that land for whatever they wish.”
While there was some opposition, everyone there understood that they couldn’t fight Rowlia without Japan’s assistance. They also knew that in the worst case Japan could betray them later, but they had no choice at this point.
Having been granted permission, Japan began to build an airfield at that location.
Kingdom of Rowlia, royal capital Jin Hark, Castle Hark
The 34th king of the Rowlian Kingdom, 34-year-old Hark Rowlia, shivered in bed.
In the Great Naval Battle of Rodenius some days ago, the emerging nation calling itself Japan joined the battle and decimated Rowlia’s forces, completely annihilating 350 dragon riders and sinking 1,400 ships. Furthermore, there were no confirmed reports of Rowlia’s own attacks causing any casualties or even battle damage whatsoever.
There were a lot of preposterous things in the report. Supposedly, there was an “arrow of light” that would follow its target even if avoided. The wyverns were mostly killed by that. They postulated that this was some kind of new magic weapon. However, the report also said that when they got within 7 kilometers, they were shot down by “something” else. What the hell was that supposed to mean, “something” else?!
Furthermore, that sorcery to sink ships in one blast could be fired consecutively without any delay. He couldn’t even imagine the amount of magic power needed to achieve that. Did they discover some kind of ancient magic from a mythical empire or something? He was unable to fathom what exactly was opposing his country.
Rowlia always had a large population, but the quality of its people was subpar. Over the last 6 years of preparation, they were able gloss over the poor quality with overwhelming numbers. But now, they discovered that their quality was still not enough. Aerial and naval battles depend on quality of ships and wyverns and equipment, but ground battles depend more on quantity. Perhaps the ground invasion could still work out…
The king passed a restless night without sleep.
Third Civilization, Papaldia Empire
In a dim room, a light spirit in a glass sphere glowed orange, casting shadows inside the room. There were two men discussing the country’s future.
“…Japan? That’s not a name familiar to us…”
“They’re an island nation to the northeast of Rodenius.”
“We have read the reports, we am aware, but was there always a country there? What we mean to say is, they’re supposedly a thousand kilometers away from Rodenius, but we cannot imagine that no one in our history has ever realized that a country was there.”
“That part of the ocean has dangerous currents and erratic winds, so it’s hard to navigate by ship. Without being able to investigate the area closely, isn’t it possible that it was missed?”
“Perhaps, but these are uncivilized lands. While Rowlia has especially primitive naval warfare, for only eight enemy ships to be capable of sinking fourteen hundred, isn’t that just preposterous? Moreover, their cannons supposedly scored a hundred direct hits out of a hundred firings. Maybe the observer’s long barbarian life has compromised his mental faculties. We should consider installing a new observer.”
“Please consider, Your Excellency. Our 100-gun warship, the Fissennuss, could face that Rowlian fleet and emerge unscathed. It is capable of sinking Rowlia’s ships from a distance of two kilometers with its main cannon without needing to pause, so those results aren’t completely unbelievable. In any case, I don’t know how many hundreds of ships Japan actually deployed, but we should at least take away from this that they are advanced enough to be building cannons.”
“The savage barbarians are making cannons now… in light of the fact that they have yet to invade Rodenius, perhaps it is appropriate to consider that their technology has just become capable of producing cannons.”
“By the way, Rowlia can’t possibly fail, could they? If they do, that would hinder our national resource acquisition stratagem.”
“Unlike naval warfare, ground warfare relies on numbers. If nothing else, Rowlia has a large population, so they won’t lose against an enemy with primitive cannons.”
“Indeed, this battle report was truly outlandish. For the next report, I will not bring it to Your Excellency until I have thoroughly vetted the information. Please entrust me with this task.”
“Your foresight is exemplary.”
I really want to find what this “100 gate-class ship” is, since I have no idea what it’s talking about so I’m just leaving it quoted to denote that it’s a temporary, literal translation without any other context to translate it, haha. Oops, I fucked up. 門 is a counter for guns/cannons, so it’s a “100-gun warship” basically.