Oops, forgot to change the blurb here… lol
New countries! Yay! Made some verbiage changes that I’m not sure I’ll go back and fix since it’s not really something that’ll affect your reading experience.
Chapter 12 – The Papaldia Empire Chronicles, part 1: Those Who Live in Myth
“What’s happening with the plan?!” came an angry shout.
“Yes… The imperial oversight army’s twenty-two ship fleet will depart shortly to administer punishment to Fenn,” the aide replied nervously.
The Papaldia Empire’s 3rd foreign affairs department was located in a facility outside the palace. Just like Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these departments were in charge of diplomacy, but in Papaldia the responsibilities were split between three separate departments.
The 1st department was found in the palace and dealt solely with the five superpowers in the civilized area. These relationships required the most delicate care, the most scrupulous political decision-making, so only the elite of the elite were assigned there.
Next, the 2nd department was situated outside the palace and handled foreign relations with other countries in the civilized area other than the superpowers. Using their national power as leverage, they pushed forward Papaldia’s national interests while pulling back against unreasonable conditions. Because these countries were all backed by other superpowers, they couldn’t just recklessly exploit them, so a level of prudence was necessary. This was where the rest of the elites worked.
Finally, the 3rd department was in charge of all countries outside the civilized area, also known as the “barbarian countries.” They were given leave to apply as much pressure as necessary to squeeze whatever they wanted from these countries. With permission from the imperial oversight army, they were allowed to take punitive action on them whenever necessary. Because there were so many barbarian countries, 60% of the entire foreign affairs department worked here.
The national resource acquisition stratagem being executed behind the scenes in the Kingdom of Rowlia had failed because the strategy team had moved independently. Because they had invested so many resources into it, it wasn’t possible for them to hide their failure, but all the information was currently still limited to the 3rd foreign affairs department, so no one else knew about the country called Japan.
Returning to previous matter at hand…
About 210 km east of the Third Civilization superpower Papaldia, there was an island shaped like a backwards comma that was 150 km in length and 60 km in width. This was the Kingdom of Fenn. East of Fenn, across the bay like a mirror, was the comma-shaped Holy Land of Gahara. Another 500 km east of Gahara lay the island of Japan.
As part of the emperor’s national expansion initiative, the 3rd foreign affairs department demanded that a 400 square kilometer area in Fenn be gifted to Papaldia. That area only contained forests—the 3rd department could gain credit for obtaining land for the initiative; it wasn’t being used by Fenn anyway, so it was no loss for them; it would be an act of loyalty towards Papaldia, so they could turn into a semi-civilized state once Papaldia shared some of their technologies; and finally, they would become allied with Papaldia, which, given the power behind their name, would be a large deterrent for any surrounding countries that were thinking of invading them. Papaldia would expand, and Fenn would get rich.
Fenn for some reason rejected this amazing proposal, so the department prepared a second proposal to lease the same site from them for 498 years. Fenn’s Sword King Shihan politely declined the second proposal as well.
“They’re throwing mud on our name as a superpower,” fumed Kyeos, the department head. He decided to dispatch the oversight army’s fleet.
“I apologize for the trouble; if the department head is indisposed, any official will do. Please allow us to meet with someone who has authority.”
A group of officials from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been stuck in this routine for three months.
“Please wait for the moment. Things must be processed in the correct order… However, I did see the contents of your proposal, and it’s quite a difficult… our documents state that, how do you say, the ‘hurdle is very high,’ I believe…”
“What do you mean by that?”
“…If a citizen of Papaldia were in… ‘Japan,’ was it? and committed a crime, you are saying you refuse to recognize extraterritoriality…”
“What’s wrong with that? That should be the normal understanding between countries.”
“…But we are a superpower.”
“And what does that have to do with it?”
“Your country was only recently established, wasn’t it? Though you cannot help being outside the civilized area, it appears that you even lack common sense,” the clerk said venomously.
The Japanese official’s eyes widened.
“Listen, right now, in the entire world, there are only four nations that we allow to refuse extraterritoriality. They are the superpowers. Your country is not a superpower, you aren’t even in the civilized area, yet you are unaware of common diplomatic knowledge, you are refusing to recognize extraterritoriality, and you are simply deluded thinking that your country is equal to a superpower and making demands far above your station. The department manager will be available in two weeks, so please make an appointment and return then. However, as far as I am concerned, ‘the hurdle is too high for your request,’ as it were.”
Simply because Japan was located outside the civilized area, it was being treated as though its national power were a thousand times smaller. Now that efforts at communicating had failed, there was nothing else they could do. The Ministry officials despondently returned home. Those two weeks would turn out to be two extremely important weeks to Papaldia, but, at the time, no one knew what the future held.
The Kingdom of Fenn had no magic. All the citizens learned to wield the sword as part of their basic education. Live by the sword; die by the sword. No matter how lowly your birth, a talented swordsman deserved respect; no matter how handsome and beautiful your appearance, a weak swordsman is derided and ridiculed.
Today, Tenth Private Ain, a member of the palace knights, trained with his sword again. Originally, he didn’t want to join the palace knights. He liked swordplay, of course, but he also liked building design, and he had thought about pursuing that instead. The reason he had changed his mind was due to his mother.
On that day, it was cold. Ain, who was still a student at the time, thought his hair had grown too long and decided to take a horse and ride to the barber’s to get it cut. Outside, there was a woman carrying a baby and holding the hand of a small child. She had looked away for only a moment, but, in that moment, the child fell into the river and began to sink.
Because the woman was still holding her other child, she couldn’t jump into the river herself, so she pleaded for one of her neighbors to help. In the house, Ain’s mother was preparing dinner, but, when she heard what happened, she immediately rushed out into the cold and jumped into the river. His mother, after saving the child, pulled herself onto the riverbank, but, because of the sudden change in temperature, her heart stopped and she collapsed.
By the time Ain got home, his mother had already passed away. He was a good swimmer. He couldn’t help feeling regret… if he had been there, could he have changed anything? He wallowed in despair. One day in class, he read a certain sentence that made him decide to join the palace knights.
Principles of the Palace Knights, Second Article, First Paragraph
Palace knights are the guardians of people’s lives, bodies, and possessions; they prevent and suppress crime, capture criminals, and maintain public safety and order.
As soon as he saw this text, he was instantly reminded of how his mother had sacrificed her life to save someone else, and his future became set in stone.
“Ain, please come with me,” Ain’s superior, Knight-Captain Magreb, called out to him.
“Yes, what is it, sir?”
“Sword King Shihan requests your presence.”
The Sword King, Shihan, was the ruler of the Kingdom of Fenn.
“Huh? He’s asking for me?”
The Sword King asking for a Tenth Private was… frankly, inconceivable.
“Oh, I’m also being summoned. Everyone in the order who’s a Tenth Private or higher is being summoned to the royal palace; it appears to be a serious matter. Go on ahead.”
So, he headed to the royal palace.
Kingdom of Fenn, capital city Amanoki, royal castle
“We may soon go to war with the Papaldia Empire.”
Everyone paled at this sudden declaration.
The problem with there being no magic in Fenn wasn’t that they couldn’t shoot fireballs, but rather that they were unable to communicate via magic. If they were to fight an opponent with the same sized army, the difference in their speeds of communication would create an insurmountable gap in their tactical capabilities.
Another problem was the Papaldia Empire’s enormous national power.
Kingdom of Fenn vs. Papaldia Empire
Population: 5,000,000 vs. 70,000,000
Navy: 21 ships with ballista, equipped for seizing ships vs. 422 gunboats
Wyverns: None vs. 500
Wyvern Lords: None vs. 350
While the difference in military strength was depressing enough, they were also a superpower. Their soldiers were far better equipped, so there was an even bigger disadvantage beyond a simple numerical disparity. The mere fact that they were from the civilized area made them a country they shouldn’t fight.
The room went silent.
The reason Fenn had no wyverns was because, east of Fenn, wind dragons had settled in the Holy Land of Gahara. Wind dragons were very intelligent and far above wyverns in the food chain, so wyverns wouldn’t dare come anywhere close to Gahara. Using some kind of magic-like technique called “divine power,” Gahara allied itself with twelve wind dragons. They were few in number, but each one was equal to thousands of soldiers, so even superpowers were wary of them.
“Currently, I have requested aid from Gahara. We also have various other countermeasures under consideration.”
The Sword King had sent an official letter to the Divine King Minakanushi, who lived in the imperial shrine in Gahara’s capital city, Takamagahara.
“In any case, all warriors should prepare for war.”
Everyone remained tense.
“My king, how did the matter go with the country that wanted to open negotiations regarding diplomatic relations? ‘Japan,’ I think it was?”
After the assembly ended, one of the king’s aides, Swordmaster Motam, asked him a question in his office. In Fenn, there were only ten people who held the title of Swordmaster.
“‘Japan’? Aah, we received some information about them from the Gaharan embassy, they’re an emerging country east of Gahara. Over in that area, there’s a small chain of islands, and some dangerous ocean currents… did the villages on those islands group up and form their own country, I wonder?”
The Sword King imagined the birth of a small country.
“That’s not… quite… According to the Japanese, their population is a hundred and twenty million, they say…”
“A… a hundred and twenty million people?! Wahahahaha, I guess they really are a big deal if they’ve sprouted that many already!” the Sword King laughed, not believing Motam’s words in the least.
“Well… this came from Gahara, but they gave us the same numbers. They have already established diplomatic ties with Japan. That area of the ocean isn’t just a small chain of islands, but now four large ones. They also have a highly advanced civilization that surpasses that of the superpowers…”
“Hoh… Saying they’re above the superpowers stretches credulity, but, if Gahara is going this far to praise them, I am curious what kind of country they are…”
The Sword King and all his aides decided to meet with the Japanese representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“You don’t have to be so nervous.”
This country was very stern, it felt like the atmosphere was always solemn. “A country ruled by samurai”… that was the impression of one of the officials. The quality of life seemed low and the citizens appeared impoverished, but spirits were high and all the people acted properly and politely. It was a living example of true bushido, a philosophy that had been long forgotten in Japan.
“Presenting the Sword King,” a voice announced. The representatives from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs all stood up and bowed.
“So, you must be the messengers from Japan.”
He seems even more skilled than a master, thought Shimada, a Foreign Affairs official who was a 7-dan in kendo and was watching the Sword King closely.
“Yes… we have come because we would like to establish diplomatic relations with your country. Please accept these gifts along with our greetings. They are goods made in Japan.”
Arranged in front of the Sword King were various Japanese items. Katanas, kimonos, pearl necklaces, a folding fan, athletic shoes… The Sword King grabbed a katana and pulled it from its sheath.
“Oh… this is a good sword,” said the Sword King, impressed. He had already asked in advance about the terms presented by Japan and verified that the details in the document were all correct.
“It is rude, but I do not know very much about your country, Japan. From your proposal, if everything you say is true, a country with tremendous national power wants to build an equal relationship with us, and we would also gain access to technology that we could previously only see in our dreams. Our country has no reason to object.”
“In that case, you’ll—”
The representative’s face brightened. As if waiting for that, the Sword King interrupted.
“However, your whole country being transported here, iron ships that float in the ocean… your stories are very hard to believe.”
“In… in that case, if you would like to send messengers to our country, then…”
“No, I would like to see it with my own eyes.”
“How… would you like to do so?”
“In your country, your naval forces, what you call the ‘Maritime Self-Defense Force,’ have four escort flotillas, or so I’ve heard.”
“The Maritime Self-Defense Force? Yes, that’s correct…”
“As an act of friendship, can I request that you deploy one of those flotillas here? This year, we were planning on scrapping four of our navy’s ships. Instead, we can just set them afloat. Treat them as enemy vessels and attack them. In simple terms, I want to see your navy’s power.”
The representative was taken aback. Normally, without any diplomatic relations, countries felt threatened by and were cautious of any other country’s armed forces coming near them. It was normal to be extremely opposed to the idea, but this monarch was instead saying “show us your power!” Not only that, but they wanted to see it right off the shore of Amanoki, their capital city! “Is it because this is another world? Is it because they’re a country of warriors? Is this kind of thing common here?” These befuddled reflections were included in the report back to Japan.
A few days later, an escort flotilla was dispatched to Fenn as both a show of force and to conduct a training exercise.
Kingdom of Fenn, airspace above the capital city Amanoki
Captain Susanoo of the Gahara wind dragon riders was flying over the capital city of the neighboring country, the Kingdom of Fenn. Today was the Military Festival that Fenn held once every five years, and Gahara sent three dragon riders to fly in the sky as a sign of goodwill.
At the Military Festival, numerous officers from other countries outside the civilized area gathered to compete in tournaments and show off their country’s equipment. It was a way for each country to show off their military power and keep other countries in check. They also invited countries in the civilized area, but none of them ever came, replying with “we are uninterested in barbarian festivals” or “we have no need to show off our overwhelming strength.”
Susanoo looked down on the festival from the sky. He saw eight gigantic gray ships and one small but beautiful ship painted white. One of the gray ships even looked large enough for him to land his dragon on it. They appeared to be from the emerging country to the east, Japan.
“How dazzling,” said his wind dragon partner.
“It certainly is clear today.”
The sun was blinding. It was a day without many clouds.
“No, that is not what I meant. Not the sun. That gray boat below us, it radiates lines of light in many directions.”
“Light, from the ship? I don’t see anything…”
“Feh… humans cannot see it. Our kind converse with our faraway brethren using light that, for humans, is invisible light. To know if there is something flying, it is possible to check. This light is similar to that.”
“You can tell if there are dragons in the sky? From how far away?”
“It varies by individual. This one can tell as far away as one hundred and twenty kilometers. The light from that boat is many times stronger than what this one makes. Its light is also focused.”
It couldn’t be…
“It can’t be! That boat is somehow communicating with another faraway boat without using magic, and they can also use that method to detect flying dragons outside of visual range?!”
“Those eight boats down there are all the same…”
“Japan… what an amazing country…”
This was the conversation they were having up in the air.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, guided missile destroyer Myoukou
“This is unbelievable…”
“But, there’s no doubt about it.”
Flying in the air far above them, that creature known as a wind dragon was sending out electromagnetic waves that closely resembled radio waves. If they considered it a type of aircraft, its output was very high. They had just found flying objects capable of radar in a country outside the civilized area. In other words, the major civilizations might have already mass produced military-grade radar.
This new knowledge would kickstart a frenzy to resume development of stealth technology which had its research and development temporarily frozen after the transfer.
TL note: I started adding links to stuff on wikipedia in the actual chapter, check it out if you want!