Yeesh, I fell asleep while editing this, then woke up to find we’d been sniped – by 2 chapters! – on Sword Saint. Oh well, our primary goal was to see the manga get translated, so if someone else wants to do it, go ahead. We’ll still translate the rest, but at our own pace.
Anyway, here’s the second part of chapter 7! The final word count for both parts is 5,500!!! In comparison, the previous longest chapter, 4, was only 3,200. Gaddem.
I’ve been translating pretty hardcore (for someone who’s still learning Japanese) for the past… 4 days?… so I’ll be taking it easy today to, like, eat food and go to sleep at somewhat normal times. As you do. I think we’ll aim to get SS5 out tomorrow, then I’ll try to finish SJ8 on Saturday or maybe Sunday if it’s another long one.
Anyway, enjoy the (continued) culture shock!
Chapter 7 part 2 – Side Story: Contact with Japan (Kua Toine’s side) (cont.)
The next day
Hanki and Yago sat in the bleachers at the Tsuiki Air Field air show, watching it open to the public.
(To be honest, my eyes were already spinning after experiencing the “highway,” but now we can finally see the iron dragons in action during this demonstration.)
For someone from Kua Toine, it was unthinkable for normal citizens to interact with the military or enter a military base. However, after seeing the crowds of Japanese citizens flocking to the air field for the air show, Hanki realized how much the Japanese loved the self-defense force.
<<Now, we will demonstrate the capabilities of the F-15 tactical fighter aircraft. Please watch the sky over here to the right. The F-15 will be arriving at a speed of eight hundred and fifty kilometers per hour.>>
“Mr. Tagami! Did I just hear ‘eight hundred and fifty kilometers,’ or was that a mistake?” Hanki called out excitedly.
“Yes indeed, the speed announced was eight hundred and fifty kilometers per hour.”
Everyone turned to the right. An object was approaching silently. They only began to hear the sound of flight once it got close enough to the bleachers.
“It’s almost flying at the speed of sound!” Hanki yelled.
The F-15 pulled up until it was almost perpendicular to the ground and quickly rose. Its wings cut apart the air, forming clouds that trailed behind the wing tips. With a boom of thunder, the plane ignited its afterburners, creating two flames behind its engines. It quickly faded from view into the blue sky.
Hanki was speechless.
<<Please look again to the right. The F-15 from before is now returning.>>
<<The F-15 will approach at a speed of six hundred kilometers per hour, then turn in front of the audience. When performing this maneuver, the pilot is subjected to extreme G-forces.>>
As they announced, the F-15 curved on a dime right in front of the bleachers and once again climbed up high into the sky.
“So even these kinds of maneuvers are possible… I wonder if those nations can also do anything like this…”
Blue Impulse, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s aerobatic demonstration team, launched a number of planes and performed various acrobatic acts before the air show ended.
“Say, Mr. Tagami, those iron dragons, I know they’re extremely fast, but what exactly is their maximum speed?”
“Our country’s F-15s that are maintained for actual combat can reach Mach 2.5. In other words, two and a half times the speed of sound. Because breaking the sound barrier creates shockwaves, it seems the demonstration today was limited to eight hundred and fifty kilometers per hour.”
Excerpt from Hanki’s diary entry for that day
A city filled with buildings. A high-speed road suspended in the air. And the large-scale distribution system called the “railroad.” Japan, the country that can build these amazing things, truly frightens me. What’s more, this isn’t even Japan’s capital, it’s just a large city. I could use another word that expresses even more surprise than “astonished” does.
For Japan and other rich nations like it, military power perfectly reflects technological progress. Their combat iron dragons fly at 2.5x the speed of sound, and their speed of ascent is similarly incredible. They are monstrous tools that have a combat range of over 1,000 km. From their perspective, the only things we have that could threaten them are our wyverns. According to our guide Tagami, iron dragons can be used for both land and naval battles. I thought I felt threatened when that iron dragon invaded Myhak’s airspace, but now I realize that was not the correct reaction. Compared to the combat iron dragons, the one that flew over Myhak wouldn’t last even a second. In other words, I can confidently declare that the iron dragon in the Myhak incident was actually just a patrol.
We must establish friendly relations with them. Making an enemy of them would have far worse consequences than even making an enemy of one of the great civilizations.
They must never be hostile to us.
At the hotel
“What is it?”
“What do you think of Japan?”
“Hmm, if I could only use one word, I would say ‘affluent.’ To a ridiculous degree. In this hotel, the temperature stays the same at all times. How much energy does it take to achieve that, for a building of this size? Furthermore, it’s not like they’re doing it just to impress a our delegation, almost every building has its temperature controlled like this.
“You can cover yourself in hot water just by turning a knob, without worrying about lighting a fire. Toilets are kept very clean. If you go out, there are unmanned vending machines where you can get cold juice or alcohol, depending on the place.
“There are shops open at all hours of the night where you can find all manner of high-quality items. The grocery shops always have fresh food. The nights here are brightly lit, and, even if some areas aren’t, I would still feel safe walking around because of how orderly their cities are.
“Compared to our country, their quality of life, from every angle, is higher. It’s frustrating to admit, but it makes me truly feel the difference in our nations’ strengths.
“Finally, that air show was truly mind-blowing. It felt like a slap in the face, actually seeing the stark difference in our military capabilities. It completely convinced me that we cannot possibly fight Japan as an enemy.”
“I’m glad we both came to the same conclusion… In the face of a combat-ready iron dragon, our wyverns would be completely powerless. Japan is really bad for my heart, haha.”
“I, on the other hand, am beyond excited. This kind of advanced, sophisticated country appeared near us, but they don’t look down on others like the three great civilizations do. For our country to be their first point of contact, and for them to not have an interest in conquering us, I think that in itself was a great stroke of fortune.”
Yago and Hanki continued chatting late into the night.
The next day
It was another cool morning, with clouds high in the clear sky and great visibility. Without pollution floating over from China anymore, every day was clear now. A man in a suit, Tagami again, appeared before the gathered delegates and spoke to them.
“Good morning, everyone. Did you all sleep well last night?
“Here is our schedule today. After breakfast, at ten hundred hours, I will detail you on our activities in Tokyo. At eleven thirty, we will leave the hotel to catch the bullet train from Hakata to Tokyo at twelve hundred. We will arrive at Tokyo station at seventeen-oh-four, after which…”
The itinerary explanation continued. After coming to Japan, the concept of a single, universal time became crystal clear to everyone. A precise device called a “wristwatch” was given to each delegate. Time was tracked in units called “seconds.” This device was extremely convenient to carry on one’s person. For the military, coordinated time made executing simultaneous attacks child’s play. The most shocking revelation was that they were given “solar charging watches,” meaning that as long as there was light, it could work indefinitely. They also said that the watch’s accuracy would only degrade by at most 1 second over the course of 10,000 years. Upon hearing this, we were simply speechless.
“Mr. Tagami, I believe that the distance from Hakata to Tokyo is over one thousand kilometers,” Yago called out.
“Yes, that is correct.”
“The ‘bullet train’ that we are riding today is a land-based vehicle, if I remember correctly from the explanation. Our arrival time is precisely ‘seventeen-oh-four;’ does that mean the length of the trip has been predicted down to the minute?”
“Indeed; if there are no accidents or natural disasters, that will in fact be the exact time that we arrive.”
…It really was pointless to try to apply the conventions of Kua Toine to Japan.
“I understand. Thank you for explaining.”
“Not at all, you are most welcome.”
Tagami smiled brightly and laughed.
It sounded like two large objects just collided with each other. What happened?
Yago looked outside.
There was a woman on the ground with blood pouring from her head, and there was a strange yellow-colored car beside her.
“Another taxi accident, huh…” Tagami grimaced in resignation.
At this point in time, nearly half of all the car accidents in Fukuoka involved taxis. The injured woman began to lose focus as she weakened.
“She’s in bad shape! We have to treat her!” yelled Yago as he stood up to rush outside.
“Please wait, Mr. Yago. An ambulance will be here soon, it will be fine.”
Yago shook off Tagami’s hold, ran out of the hotel, and hurried to the woman’s side. Tagami wasn’t supposed to let delegates in the middle of a delegation interact with wounded people. The woman was now drooling and bleeding violently from the wound on her head every time her heart beat.
“This is bad… ,.vmtaiba,eo.,b,a;wsoe4igamoiseo…”
Yago began to chant something, and both of his hands glowed with light.
“!!!!!!!!!!!! The… the wound is…!”
The wound on the woman’s head was visibly healing. A crowd had gathered from the surrounding area, curious about the accident.
“That was… amazing!!! Did you see that just now?!”
“I saw it! That guy started saying something, then the wound just started closing up!!!”
People were shouting back and forth.
“Huh? It’s just magic, what’s interesting about that?”
There was a moment of silence, followed by an explosion of noise. At the innocent use of that word, the crowd boiled with fervor. Yago looked around blankly. The street had become completely filled with chatter.
On the bullet train
“My goodness, that was very surprising. Although it was included in our documentation, seeing magic with my own eyes… all I can say is, that was wonderful.”
Tagami was breathlessly spewing words of praise.
“Is healing magic really that unusual in Japan?”
Yago happily basked in all the praise. Since he had spent all his time being stunned by things in Japan, being able to surprise a Japanese person back made him feel quite good inside.
“No, let alone healing magic, magic itself does not exist in Japan.”
Tagami’s nonchalant response made all the delegates’ mouths drop open in shock.
“B-But… you can speak to your flying airplanes in the sky! If that isn’t communication magic, how are you talking to them?” Hanki asked.
“That technology uses radio waves to transfer sound… We explained this to you before in detail, but all of the technological development in Japan is based on science.”
“Everything is science?”
“Yes, Japan has pursued physics… that is, the study of the laws governing how the world behaves… to exhaustive lengths. That knowledge is what powers our country.”
The delegates all believed they had just learned an important national secret. If there was no magic in Japan, then Kua Toine had a very good position from which to export their national magical skills and tools. For example, they could open a simple ritual center to cure minor ailments such as scratches and muscle stiffness, and there would also be demand for more serious emergencies like with the incident earlier. Temporary triage healing was also a very effective tactic. They could even establish a magic academy to charge tuition.
Learning that Japan was completely reliant on science was also an important discovery that could drastically affect Kua Toine’s development. It was hard to use mages for combat since there just weren’t enough of them; it was a problem involving both the quality of magic ability and simple human resources. However, Japan’s practical use of science was something that could be replicated, since the only problem to overcome was one of understanding. In other words, this was a way for Kua Toine to raise its strength as a country at its very foundations.
“Mr. Tagami, the behavior of the world, this ‘physics,’ is that something that you can export?”
“Our country recently passed the ‘New World Technology Outflow Prevention Act.’ It forbids the exportation of our core technologies, so some things may be impossible to export. However, if you are just interested in science, you can buy books on science at any of our bookstores. Unfortunately, since translation efforts between our two languages have not advanced very far yet, it may take a long time until it can be translated into your language.”
There are many mysteries in the world, and languages are one of them. It is possible to communicate using individual words, even across different languages, but other pieces of a language, such as grammar, are monumentally more difficult. Since Japan only recently joined this new world, they’ve so far been sending out diplomats to multiple foreign nations to establish relations. In order to facilitate the establishment of diplomatic ties, translation into other languages was being furiously researched within many fields of industry, but it was obviously not a simple task.
Yago decided to bring back as many books on physics, chemistry, and other fields of science as he could.
The bullet train continued on its way smoothly.
“At any rate, this bullet train is incredibly fast, isn’t it, Mr. Hanki?” Yago commented.
“Indeed it is. Even at this speed, there’s no shaking for us inside at all, truly a comfortable ride. On the other hand, because we’re going so fast, the mere thought of an accident occurring is quite frightening.”
“Since its adoption, there have been no passenger deaths due to train accidents. The bullet train is undoubtedly the safest vehicle in Japan.”
“Oh? How incredible. Unfortunately, hearing that actually makes me more nervous.”
With its passengers engaged in these kinds of conversations, the train ran on.
Partial excerpt from Yago’s diary
We rode the bullet train, passing many large cities before finally arriving in Japan’s capital city Tokyo. Even those cities we passed were larger than the capitals of the 3 great civilizations, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that Tokyo itself completely eclipsed them all. Everything in the city moved precisely and purposely, there was a mind-boggling amount of people, and it was packed full of buildings that pierced the skies.
Actually, one of our mountains, Eyjey, at 539 m above sea level, was still taller than those buildings.
I would love to work in a country like this, one with the power and resources to build an entire district of high-rise buildings, but not just a delegate; I’ll find a way to make it happen at the diplomatic meeting tomorrow. I would put all my effort into advancing our national interests. I’m incredibly fortunate to be a participant in this moment of history.
The next day – Japan-Kua Toine diplomatic meeting
The meeting had begun. A thin man with glasses addressed the entire Kua Toine delegation.
“My name is Himura, from the Ministry of Agriculture. Please forgive my frankness, but right now, we simply need food. To be specific…”
There were countless categories of required food items listed in the document, but what was truly astonishing was the amount.
“The total amount needed per year is fifty-five million tons?!”
“Yes. I was told that your country produces an astounding amount of food. While that amount does overwhelmingly exceed a food self-sufficiency rate of 100%, we naturally aren’t optimistic that you can meet our needs, so we first want to know how much you can export. Of course, we’re not asking for an immediate answer, but we do want to convey that our country is running out of time and we would like to have a response as soon as possible.”
Yago, who had been scrutinizing the list, spoke up.
“Seafood items will be difficult to procure, and I’m not sure what ‘coffee beans’ are, but, for everything else, I believe our country has the capacity to meet at least the amount requested here. Of course, this is all dependent on our government’s approval, but…”
“We don’t have the means to transport this amount of food. Excess food is stored in a granary region, but we lack the infrastructure to transport the food to the port. Even if we somehow could move the food, we further lack the manpower to handle that amount of goods. Finally, we don’t have a ship capable of reaching Japan, let alone a fleet that can handle that much food.”
“If those problems were solved, then you would export food to us?”
“Again, we need to confirm with our government first, but it would at least be logistically possible to do so, yes.”
The Japanese side of the meeting became restless, excitedly conducting hushed discussions. They had been facing an impossible food crisis, and now the seeds of a resolution were at last taking root. A dapper old man with white hair and glasses motioned to speak.
“I’m Maejima with Foreign Affairs. If Kua Toine agrees, Japan is willing to assist with the development of infrastructure from your port facilities to the granary region, and the construction of a railway system. We can also discuss a governmental development fund in order to maintain this railway. What do you think?”
This time, it was the Kua Toine delegation’s turn to chatter excitedly. To Kua Toinans, food and water had almost no value, but now they were given an opportunity to enrichen their country by exporting them. Even more, Japan went ahead and offered to help with improvements to their infrastructure and build a railway system on their own, without even negotiating down first. This could not have gone better for Kua Toine. The meeting ended with all parties more than satisfied.
10 days later
The cooperation agreement between the Principality of Kua Toine and the Nation of Japan consists of the following terms:
- Kua Toine shall export the required amount of food to Japan.
- Japan shall expand the port of Myhak and develop infrastructure between Myhak and the granary region. This shall be funded by Japan.
- Japan and Kua Toine shall continue relations in order to establish diplomatic ties.
- The currency exchange rate shall be established with urgency.
- In exchange for receiving food in bulk from Kua Toine, Japan will maintain the infrastructure (water, electricity, gas) in Kua Toine for one (1) year. After that period, food will be purchased using the established exchange rate.
- Japan and Kua Toine shall discuss the establishment of non-aggression treaties.
The Kua Toinan delegation had obtained extremely favorable trade conditions while also establishing a harmonious relationship with Japan. After this, Japan and Kua Toine would forge an unbreakable bond and share a common destiny as they challenged the torrents of this world.