Took a little longer than I was hoping, but here it is! We’re on track to release SS6 tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
This was a pretty fun chapter, so I hope you all enjoy it too!
Chapter 8 – Feast of the Flame King (1)
Information about the major defeat at the Great Naval Battle of Rodenius was withheld from the front lines for fear of affecting morale. However, some of the higher officials were not given this courtesy…
The Hawk Knights, part of Rowlia’s eastern vassal army advance force, were currently in shock. They had just received news that the hundred knights of the 15th cavalry regiment, who were scouting in force about 25 kilometers east of Gim, had been eradicated. According to the officer, they didn’t detect any large-scale magic power, such as from wyverns, but, nevertheless, not a single knight had returned. If an unforeseen situation had arisen, at least one person should have been able to escape. It was possible that they were completely encircled and wiped out by a large army, but, considering how mobile cavalry were, it was a pretty far-fetched idea.
“Don’t you think something strange is going on? The only enemies should be Kua Toinan demihumans… Officer Washuna, what is your opinion?” asked Duke Junfilla, who had originally organized the eastern vassal army.
“Regarding the magic power detection, there was no reaction at all, at least nothing that anyone noticed as unusual. That means there weren’t any magic beasts on the level of wyverns, nor were there any magical attacks such as the wyverns’ fire blast.”
“So then, what do you think happened?”
“It couldn’t… possibly…”
“What is it!”
“This was circulating among the officers recently… something mentioned in a communication, something completely fantastical. It was so absurd that we paid no attention to it, but…”
“During the Myhak invasion, a fourth of the fleet was destroyed, and the three hundred and fifty wyverns sent to engage the enemy flagship were completely annihilated. The operation ended in failure…”
Everyone there froze in shock.
“Wait a minute, let me get this straight. The fleet and wyverns that we dispatched should have been capable of conquering Kua Toine all on their own. Even if they were to attack the Papaldia Empire with their renowned naval encirclement, they had the numbers and firepower to break out of even that and make it to land. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it the largest single fighting force in history. But you’re saying they were defeated? And by fucking Kua Toine at that?!”
“Actually… after Gim, a country called Japan apparently joined the war. This report was sent to us by a fellow officer, but… it said that, in the naval battle, they had a giant warship controlled by mages who continuously fired magic that sank an entire ship in a loud explosion with a single shot. They also had a spear of light that chased after wyverns, and, when it hit, the wyvern was blown into pieces.”
They all began to wonder… was this some kind of mythological battle? Or maybe just a crazy story? It couldn’t possibly have happened. However, they had been wondering why seventy-five of the advance force’s wyverns had been recalled… If this story turned out to be true, then…
“Speaking of the Hawk Knights, the captain of the squad that was eliminated was quite strong himself. The horses they used were faster than other knights’ horses too. It should be difficult to completely wipe them out…”
There was a separate matter that worried the eastern vassal army’s officials. They had received an order from the main force that came from the infamous Lieutenant General Adem. Mobilize your troops and set up camp 3 km west of Ejey. Standby there, join up with the main army.
After reading that order, Junfilla had suffered a stomachache. Unlike Gim and the other surrounding towns, Ejey was constructed by Kua Toine specifically to defend against attacks from Rowlia. It was a fortified castle town and also a military base. Gim’s defenses couldn’t even begin to compare to Ejey’s.
Ejey was located about 50 kilometers east of Gim. The advance force was currently camped 5 kilometers east of Gim. The complication came from the fact that the Hawk Knights had been scouting about 20 kilometers east when they were eliminated. In other words, about halfway to Ejey, they might have to deal with whatever was capable of completely annihilating a highly-mobile force without even a single person escaping. Yet, if he were to defy Adem’s orders, not only would he be killed for insubordination, Adem would likely gruesomely murder his family as well. That alone he had to avoid.
Therefore, the 20,000 soldiers of the Kingdom of Rowlia eastern vassal army advance force headed east.
Castle Town Ejey
Kua Toine’s main military force was stationed in Ejey: 30,000 soldiers belonging to the western army. They consisted of 50 wyverns, 3,000 cavalry, 7,000 archers, and 20,000 infantry. General Nho was confident that the Rowlian invasion could be repelled from this fort. It had a 25-meter-tall bulwark for repelling enemy attacks and 50 elite, trained wyverns. How steadfast! How perfect! No matter how great the army, there was no possible way Ejey could fall!
“General Nho, sir, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is here.”
They were cooperating because that was the order from the government, but, in truth, he didn’t like this Japanese army that had come marching into his country. Only after belittling their air force and showing off all their power did Japan reach out to Kua Toine. He didn’t believe it, but he also heard they forced back Rowlia’s giant fleet of 4,400 ships with only 8 ships of their own.
However, when all was said and done, ground combat was all about numbers. This time, Japan only sent the 7th division of their Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, just 6,000 weak-looking men. They had set up a star-shaped encampment about 5 kilometers east of Ejey. Apparently the government approved it, but it certainly irked him to have another country’s army set up inside his country. He had heard their population was 120 million, so only sending 6,000 felt like they were saying they wouldn’t actually help. In any case, as long as the forces of Ejey drove off Rowlia’s army by themselves, Japan wouldn’t have the chance to do anything.
General Nho stood up to greet them.
Three men entered the room and bowed.
“I am Lieutenant General Ouchida from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 7th division.”
Unlike Kua Toine’s elegant clothes, they all wore something much simpler. This was the commander of Japan’s forces? Nho was incredulous.
“Well, well, thank you for coming all this way. I am General Nho, commander of the Kua Toine western army. We appreciate your country sending us reinforcements. Thank you very much.”
He had to make sure he watched both his words and expressions. He continued speaking.
“Lieutenant General Ouchida, the Rowlian army sacked Gim, and I’m sure they will come for Ejey next. As I believe you can see, Ejey is both a formidable fortress and a large town; they cannot simply ignore us, no matter how large their army. With my country having been invaded, in order to pay them back in full and prevent our destruction, we must oppose them here.
“Your Japanese forces are positioned five kilometers to the east. You need not to leave your base at all; please provide rear support. Together, we shall drive away Rowlia’s army.”
Nho had basically told them “you’ll be in the way, just withdraw.” He knew they were following their government’s orders, but his pride outweighed his consideration.
“I understand. We shall act as rear support from our base. However, we do have a small request…”
“What is it?”
“In order for us to monitor the battlefield and the enemy’s position, can you allow us to set up fifty observation stations with our equipment around Ejey?”
“That can be arranged.”
The Japanese commander left the room with his men. Nho pondered. Being told to provide rear support from 5 kilometers away was a contemptuous order; that far away from the battle, there was nothing they could do! In other words, he been asked to sit on his hands. Yet he said nothing! Didn’t he have any pride?
Rowlia’s eastern vassal army advance force of 20,000 men had marched to a point 5 kilometers west of the castle town of Ejey without any interference. They were 3 kilometers away from the target position in the orders, but Junfilla wanted to make camp here instead. He had a terrible premonition, but they decided to stay at this spot for a week anyway.
Nho was panicking. 20,000 Rowlian soldiers just showed up west of Ejey. Based on those numbers, they were clearly the advance force; if they attacked now, they would sap Ejey’s strength before the main Rowlian army arrived. The western army could hole up inside the castle, but since the enemy had 300 cavalry, they could monitor movement in the fort to keep their army apprised and ready to intercept if anyone tried to leave the castle. Whether or not the enemy went on the offensive, the soldiers in the fort would have to be on guard at all times, which would wear down their nerves.
He considered sending his wyverns out to raid them, but they couldn’t fly at night, and they would be immediately targeted if they landed, rendering them largely useless. If they fell into a standoff, the enemy’s main force would eventually arrive, and by then his men would already be at their limits.
“We’ve received a message from the Japanese forces,” a messenger reported as he rushed over.
“Yes sir! There is a force taking position about five kilometers west of Ejey. Are they Rowlian? If so, are we authorized to attack? To ensure that Kua Toinan soldiers are not caught in friendly fire, please have the army withdraw from a radius of about two kilometers around the enemy.”
“I thought I told them not to leave their base… I wanted only our forces be recognized for the defense of Ejey… Well, it’s fine now. As an observer, I wonder how those Japanese will fight… Tell them their attack is authorized!”
It was clear day, with comfortable weather and no clouds in the sky. The morning was a bit chilly, and the air was dry. There were no particles like dust in the air, so visibility was very good. Junfilla looked down on the 20,000 troops from a somewhat tall hill, then breathed in deeply. The air was very refreshing. The army was in high spirits. They had sent about 300 cavalry in rotation to harass Ejey throughout the night while the rest of the troops else slept soundly. The food pillaged from Gim was delicious.
It appeared that the enemy was going to withdraw into Ejey to focus on defend. According to their spies, there were around 50 enemy wyverns. They would be a threat, but they weren’t being sent on offensive yet. If the situation did not change, the main army would soon arrive and they would have their own wyverns for air support. Then, their overwhelming army would run right over Ejey. That was what they were thinking.
In the eastern skies, a point of white appeared. It made a sound like something was hitting the air…
“?! What is that thing?”
“Some kind of new dragon?”
It was like a weirdly-shaped box with something spinning very fast on top of it. It soon reached the army, hovering above them, too high to shoot with arrows. Some white things started coming out of the box. They fluttered about as they fell, and the Rowlians quickly realized that it was high-quality paper. Junfilla picked up one of these papers. There was something written on it in Rowlian that made him freeze…
Pack up your things and withdraw in the next 2 hours. If you do not comply, we will attack.
Lieutenant General, 7th division
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
So they had finally come… The rumored nation called “Japan.” Going up against these never-before-seen enemies, Junfilla trembled in anticipation. Their army of 20,000 soldiers wouldn’t break from a half-hearted attack. However, to warn their enemy before attacking… what a virtuous country. Junfilla went down to form up the troops and get them ready for battle.
“We actually brought this thing…?” muttered a private. In front of him, there was a weapon that shouldn’t have existed.
A Multiple Launch Rocket System, armed with 12 cluster rockets each carrying 644 submunitions, capable of providing six soccer stadiums worth of instant coverage and absolutely devastating to unarmored objects. Because Japan was a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, these MLRS were supposed to have been scrapped, but, after transferring to this world, Japan decided to cancel that. 12 of them were pointed west. There were also numerous 155mm self-propelled howitzers. These were insurance, to make sure no enemies escaped fire.
2 hours had passed.
“The enemy hasn’t moved?”
“They’re in combat formation, sir. We’ve also confirmed that there are no Kua Toine soldiers in the vicinity.”
“I see… I guess that’s that, then. Fire at will!!!”
Rockets were launched continuously, booming each time, and the howitzers also began to fire.
TL note: The Convention on Cluster Munitions, as should be obvious by the name, is just a ban on cluster bombs, not on the MLRS itself. Not sure why the author wrote that the entire MLRS was supposed to be scrapped.
TL note response: Deer B tells me that at the time, Japan did not have MLRS with rockets and firing systems that could be easily replaced, so the entire unit could be considered banned and to him it makes sense for them to scrap the entire thing. It sounds like Japan announced in 2008 that they were scrapping all ammunition and that the M270 (the MLRS referenced in the story) wasn’t necessary, so that’s why it should have been scrapped. In reality, they ended up keeping them anyway.