I had a bit of trouble coming up with different words for people dying, haha.
Chapter 9 – Feast of the Flame King (2)
Junfilla looked over the formation of 20,000 soldiers, feeling satisfied.
They were a magnificent sight, his polished and fearless army. This Japan might be quite strong, but his men wouldn’t go down easily.
?!… All of a sudden, his idle thoughts vanished and his mind became crystal clear. It was a strange occurrence, considering there weren’t any enemies… He wondered why he had this feeling of imminent doom. What was going on?
“Wha-What the hell?!?!?!”
People began exploding one after another, dying in droves. Then, a smaller explosion was blowing people off their feet. Something bounced around, and, again, soldiers fell over one by one.
General Nho of the Kua Toine army could not believe what he was seeing.
“What is… going on…? Did a volcano erupt under their camp…?”
The enemy soldiers were blown up and smothered in smoke, explosions going off one after another. Every time a black flower bloomed, enemies were bowled over. Their army had been well-trained and well-organized. That trim and tidy image was quickly disappearing. They were quite literally being annihilated, like ants being held up to a magic flame.
Only a small area of the camp was unaffected by the onslaught. The soldiers had formed into ranks across a huge, wide area. His fearsome enemies… they were given no chance to leave behind anything of their lives, their time, their training, as they were simply snuffed out like insects. There was no glorious battle or chivalry to be found, there were simply pitiful men being culled in the most efficient way possible.
“Wha… wha… what powerful explosion magic!!! Such a long range for their spells! Is everyone in the Japanese army a high mage?! Wait, even if all six thousand of them were high mages, they couldn’t generate this much power! Is Japan allied with the holy dragon, then?!”
Inside the castle of Ejey, the citizens of Kua Toine were watching the slaughter dumbfoundedly.
Junfilla was going mad with despair as he watched his men being eliminated systematically. Comrades-in-arms, stalwart veterans, talented generals, an upper-class knight who was courting a member of his house, friends with whom he trained, sweated, spilled blood, all of them… the more he thought that they had died in vain, the more he cried, and the more he died a little inside.
However, the god of death wasn’t about to let him alone escape. The way he was pushed by the explosion, how it looked as his body was blown apart, pieces flying every which way, became his final memory. Their mighty sorcery tore apart the tilled land. After the dust settled, not a single person, not even a single horse, had survived.
Nho couldn’t describe the attack happening before his eyes. In the short time that he had been lamenting the departure from his ideal of honorable combat, the furious assault had thoroughly destroyed their powerful enemy, the Rowlian army.
“So this… is the strength… of the Japanese army…”
His own men were stripped of the chance to face the Rowlian army, but at the same time they suffered no casualties. Normally, he would have been incredibly happy at this outcome, but instead, he felt the sting of defeat.
Principality of Kua Toine, governmental meeting
“…that concludes the report on the battle west of Ejey between the Japanese army and the Rowlian army.”
“Well then, does anyone know how Japan is able to use that high-powered explosion magic, or did no one see it?”
“Yes sir. As written in the report, Japan conducted their attack from their garrison.”
“That’s impossible! Japan’s garrison was thirteen kilometers from the site of the high-powered explosion magic! Thirteen kilometers!!! Such extraordinary magic is only found in fairy tales about the ancient sorcerous empire!”
The meeting erupted into noise. With his hand raised, Prime Minister Kanata quieted the venue down.
“Everyone, please look at these materials.”
Handouts on high-quality paper, imported cheaply from Japan, were passed out to all the legislators.
This was… a request to attack Rowlia’s capital?!
“According to this proposal, Japan will launch their iron dragons from within our country to assault the Rowlian capital. Their objective is to capture King Rowlia on the charges of mass murder. At the same time, regarding Rowlia’s eastern vassal army deployed between Ejey and Gim and their main army currently marching from the border to the west of Gim, we shall deploy our ground troops and attack them together with Japan’s iron dragons. If the attack is a success, we will likely draw out the enemy’s main forces from Gim, allowing us to send another army to recapture Gim.”
Once again, all the attendees began talking at once.
“Isn’t this an acceptable plan? We have nothing to lose.”
“No, but other countries’ ground forces could invade…”
“However, at this rate, our country will be destroyed… don’t we have no choice but to rely on Japan for this?”
“Rowlia’s capital… I don’t think it’ll go well, but…”
“But if it does go well, this war will end… with minimal losses, at that.”
The legislators unanimously approved Japan’s transport through land, sea, and air within Kua Toine, as well as their proposal to attack Rowlia.
Kingdom of Rowlia, Kua Toine subjugation corps, eastern vassal army
20 kilometers east of Gim…
“We can’t contact the advance force?!” Lieutenant General Adem yelled at the communications squad.
“According to my superior, we’ve been sending out communications, but receiving no responses.”
There had been no news from the advance force since yesterday. Despite just being an advance force, they were an army of 20,000 soldiers, which was unusually large. There was no way he could imagined them being completely wiped out without being able to send out a single message.
“What about the reconnaissance team?”
Adem had ordered 12 wyverns to scout Ejey.
“They should be passing over the advance force’s last-known location soon and sending us a status report.”
Kingdom of Rowlia, Kua Toine subjugation corps, eastern vassal army, wyvern scouting squadron, Dragon Rider Muura
“It should be around here…”
The 12 wyverns scouting the area around Ejey were split up, each searching a different zone. Muura was assigned to the zone containing the last coordinates of the advance force. It was a bit cooler today, sunny but also very cloudy. That made flying a bit trickier, but it was very comfortable.
The advance force was missing. His mission was to verify their status.
He thought he saw a glint of armor… he flew up higher.
“What… what is this…?!”
He saw what looked like those craters on the moon all over the place. In places without craters, he could see remains. Human and horse parts, all mixed together, being picked at by jet-black birds, which were the sign of demons in Rowlia.
He landed. There wasn’t a single other moving person.
“They were… annihilated…?”
This was impossible… and terrifying…
His wyvern partner roared a warning. It was facing east.
Faintly, he could hear the sound of something beating the air. He strained his eyes. Dragon riders all had extremely good vision.
“What kind of dragon is that?!”
In the distance… he made out tiny black dots, like grains. They seemed… soulless, more like objects than dragons.
All of a sudden, smoke began to rise from one of those dragons, and a small flame traveling faster than the speed of sound came straight at him.
“A guided fire blast!”
It was so, so far away! Its effective range was apparently much further than his own wyvern’s flame blast. From that distance, its range probably even surpassed a wyvern lord’s! However… Muura simply flew up into the air. No matter the range or speed of the attack, if he saw it coming, he could avoid it. This level of attack needed to be a surprise for it to hit. He supposed that they had poor vision.
“!!! It’s following me!”
The fire blast had curved in midair and continued chasing him.
He put everything he had into flying, every trick and tactic he ever learned while glued to his wyvern’s back, zig-zagging, looping, banking, anything he could think of. The fire blast simply changed its orientation, every time. He had never seen this kind of attack before.
“A guided fire blast is chasing me!!!” Muura yelled into his magical communication tool. “D-Dammit…!”
As the wind blew in his face and the fear of death came over him, various memories surfaced, unbidden, in his head.
“Good luck,” his wife said, smiling as she sent him off to war. “Here now, don’t you want to say bye to daddy?” “Ah, ahh.” His daughter, who had just turned 1 year old, grinned as he hugged her. “Here… a charm, to protect you. Take it.” She gave him some kind of light, gold object. He had always attached it to his belt, at his hip.
“I’m not… gonna die here!!!!!!”
At his sudden ascent, the guided fire blast, again, corrected itself to follow him. He then dove sharply—
The charm on his belt came loose. The fire blast closed in.
Behind Muura, the fire blast exploded for some reason. He and his wyvern headed back into the western sky.
Some random commentary from Deer B: