Holy cow, this was a long-ass chapter. I would have split it like I did with chapter 7, but I didn’t feel that there was really a great stopping point in the middle, so I just kept going. In hindsight, there probably was a good place to do it, but oh well, it’s done now.
I’ll probably take a day or two off to just not think about TLing, then start work on 17. It’s yet another long one (chapter 16 was 15,000 characters, 17 is 12,500…), so I expect it will take me another week or so, unless I decide to split it.
Chapter 16 – World Superpower!!! The Papaldia Empire!
Holy Mirishial Empire, port town Cartalpas, a certain bar
Everyone in the Central World considered the Holy Mirishial Empire the strongest country in the entire world. The port town Cartalpas, the center of trade here, was where merchants from many different countries gathered and spoke candidly about the goings-on in their countries. It was also an extremely important information hub, given how each country also mixed spies in with their merchants.
Within the civilized areas, the Holy Mirishial Empire was known for its excellence in the development of magic technology. Just by walking in the streets, a visitor could see magic streetlamps and other examples of sophisticated magical tools in use.
At a certain bar, drunk merchants were exchanging information. A man who looked like a beer barrel with a white beard started gossiping excitedly.
“The craziest story in recent times has gotta be the how the Eighth Empire, that emerging country, destroyed the Second Civilization superpower Leifor. Who here knows anything about the Eighth Empire?”
A man in a robe with his face hidden responded.
“‘The Eighth Empire’ is just what they were called in the rumors, their actual name is the Gra Valkas Empire or something like that. I was in Leifor’s capital Leiforia selling spices when it happened, but I’ll never forget it. They had suddenly ramped up security in the capital; before, they just had the one magic cannon battery, but one day a huge number of technicians came to install a second one in just a few hours. Not only that, wyvern lords from all over the country were recalled to the capital. There were a lot of rumors being thrown around among the merchants about what was going on. Even if you asked a soldier about it, they’d just say ‘we can’t talk about that now,’ so naturally a lot of people assumed the Eighth Empire was gonna come knocking. But, even though people may have thought that, at the same time they also believed Leifor would never lose, so no one was actually worried.
“Everything changed one night. Earlier that day around noon, all the wyvern lords formed up into squadrons and flew off towards the sea… and they didn’t come back. Thinking back on it now, this was when we should have realized something weird was going on.
“A huge warship came. It was like a small mountain, and it had gigantic cannons that were so big we could see them from the city. I’d never seen a boat as big as that one in my entire life. This ship was off the coast about six kilometers, completely out of range of the cannon batteries. Then, the cannon fire started.
“There was only one ship, so we didn’t think much of it, but the firepower of that thing, it was so destructive we thought that even a god of fire couldn’t make something as strong as this. The cannon batteries were demolished in a single volley. Then they just randomly bombed the entire city, it was terrifying. We ran and ran and ran. Those guys were just way too strong. They laid waste to the capital of a superpower with just one ship!!! I bet even Mu would lose them. The world belongs to Gra Valkas now, if you ask me.”
“Wait a minute. Obviously, if they beat Leifor, that means they’re strong, but they’ve got nothing on Mirishial’s super-advanced magic. They’re just on completely different levels.”
“Mu, the land of machines, also isn’t too far behind Mirishial. I don’t think they’d stand a chance against Mu either. No matter what you say, Mu wouldn’t lose to some barbarian country outside the civilized areas.”
“Leifor just lost to one of those barbarian countries, you know.”
“As one of the superpowers, Leifor was, you know… I feel bad saying it, but they were the weakest one, weren’t they? Sure, they were really strong compared to other countries, but if you only look at the other superpowers, they don’t really measure up…”
“You all don’t know how scary the Gra Valkas Empire is, so you shouldn’t make assumptions.”
The drunks kept on chatting.
“By the way, there was a Kingdom of Rowlia, wasn’t there?”
“That eastern barbarian country? The one with at least a population on par with the superpowers?”
“Ah, when I was there for a trade deal, they started a war with their neighbor Kua Toine because they wanted to eradicate all the demihumans.”
“Eradicate demihumans?! What a waste of time. Just like barbarians to do something so pointless!”
“Then, this country called Japan joined the war, and they lost. I guess Japan was way stronger than them. Rowlia didn’t even manage to kill a single man of theirs, and their fleet of forty-four hundred ships got decimated by just eight of Japan’s ships. Japan’s another country that’ll be making waves in the future!”
“They couldn’t even kill a single person, and their forty-four hundred ships were taken out by just eight ships? No matter how you slice it, that’s just propaganda. Way too unrealistic.”
“Rowlia lost? If it were a superpower or one of the civilized countries, I could understand it, but to a barbarian country?! Unbelievable.”
“Well, no matter how strong Gra Valkas or Japan are, compared to Mirishial, they’re not even worth spit. They couldn’t possibly beat them. In the end, the Central World will always be stable! At least until the ancient sorcerous empire returns.”
The drunkards’ fun night wore on.
Second Civilization’s strongest country, superpower Mu, supervising army, communications – information analysis division
The information analysis division was the country’s intelligence agency, it analyzed information gathered on various countries. The general impression of soldiers in the army about this branch was:
- I don’t really get what they do.
- Their work probably has no value.
Because of this discrimination, their understanding of information technology was very poor. Technical Officer Myrus broke out into a cold sweat while analyzing the magic photographs of the attack on Leiforia conducted by the Gra Valkas Empire’s super-dreadnought Grade Atlastar.
“This is bad…”
The Empire of Mu was only average in the world in terms of magic technology; they had come to discover the wonders of science, so they focused more on machinery and scientific advancement. That was why his position existed, but… Shockingly, he felt that the Gra Valkas Empire might be more scientifically advanced than Mu was. He wasn’t sure if the military or the politicians would believe him since they were so hard-headed, and he heard they also tended to be cowardly as well. Frankly, his analysis of the reports made his stomach churn.
Mu’s latest battleship, the La Kasami, was equipped with a state-of-the-art rotating turret that allowed them to overcome the size limits for mounted guns on ships-of-the-line. It now had a giant 30.5cm cannon, capable of bombardments far more destructive than their previous ships-of-the-line. Because the cannon barrel was long, its accuracy also improved dramatically. It also operated on burning heavy oil to move, abandoning the convention of using Tears of the Wind God to power sails.
- Displacement: 15,140 tonnes
- Length: 131.7 meters
- Width: 23.2 meters
- Installed power: 15,000 horsepower
- Speed: 18 knots
- Main guns: 2x twin 30.5 cm
- Secondary guns: 14x 15.2 cm
These specifications even gave it the potential to compete with the Holy Mirishial Empire’s magic-powered boats. It went without saying that it was far superior to the sail-powered ships used in Leifor and the Papaldia Empire. The mechanically-advanced Mu was special; it was the only country that could come close to Mirishial’s level. But…
Myrus scratched his head. Gra Valkas’s super-dreadnought Grade Atlastar, according to their reports, could reach a speed of around 30 knots. Looking at its size, it probably had a displacement of around 70,000 tonnes, and it was equipped with 38cm cannons, or were they even 40cm? For something that big to move at 30 knots, what kind of power did it need…? Wouldn’t it be around 70,000 horsepower?
It was also loaded with many more cannons. Firepower increases proportionally to the cube of the caliber. In simple terms, if Mu’s new battleship La Kasami fought this dreadnought, it would almost certainly lose. Unless there was a miracle, it would be annihilated. Considering this ship’s level of sophistication, it was probably also more accurate.
“Just by looking at these pictures, I can tell we’d lose… This is… technology we’d need another fifty years to develop!”
Technical Officer Myrus groaned, lamenting Mu’s uncertain future.
Then, there was this other picture of another country’s warship, though they were very far from Mu and shouldn’t have any direct impact on them. East of the civilized areas, there was a war between the Kingdom of Rowlia and the Principality of Kua Toine. Anyone would have guessed that Rowlia would win by a huge margin, but this ship belonged to the country that completely turned that prediction on its head. According to the informant who provided this photograph, this was the ship Myoukou from the country of Japan…
“Yeeaahh… I just don’t get it at all.”
While this ship was also enormous, it only had a single cannon. Maybe it was capable of rapid-fire, or maybe it was incredibly precise… Either way, even giving it just another cannon should be better than only one; the cannons would both have the same firepower, and they probably wouldn’t lose much accuracy. He just couldn’t comprehend the design philosophy at all. Was the cannon so expensive that they could only afford one? There were other design peculiarities he couldn’t understand as well. Simply, he just didn’t get how this ship had any actual utility.
“And this completely incomprehensible country also suddenly appeared…”
There was no end to Myrus’s anguish.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal capital Le Brias
In western Fillades, a bit separate from the civilized area, there was a kingdom, Altarus. With a population of 15 million, it was considered large in terms of both national power and population for a country outside the civilized areas. It had a warm climate. The architecture in the royal capital was based on circles, with all of its buildings built to be round. The country was rich from exports since it had magic gem mines, and the 500,000 people living in the capital Le Brias were all very lively. In contrast to those spirited people, there was one person in the royal castle who was holding his head in his hands.
King Taara the 14th was very distressed.
“Are they… insane?”
The documents he looked over were full of nonsense. It was a formal request from the Papaldia Empire, one that came every year, although it was a “request” in name only. In practical terms, it was an order. He read it over and over again.
“This just can’t be…”
After the previous emperor passed away, the current emperor, Ludius, came into power. He had heard that Emperor Ludius wanted to expand his territory to increase their national power, so he was pressuring countries to gift the empire some of their land. There were many cases where the land requested was completely unused, so it turned into a profitable arrangement for both parties. However! In the case of his country, there were no benefits for them at all!!!
- The Kingdom of Altarus will present the Siltras magic gem mine to the Papaldia Empire.
- Altarus’s Princess Lumiess will be sent to the Papaldia Empire as a slave.
Please complete these 2 requests within 2 weeks. We would like to avoid using armed force if possible.
The Siltras mine was Altarus’s largest mine; its production formed the core of their economy, and it was one of the five largest mines in the world. Without it, the country would lose a huge amount of national power. Furthermore, obtaining the princess as a slave did not benefit Papaldia in any way, it was simply to insult Altarus.
He could only see this as a provocation to war. But why!! They had already suffered endless humiliation when completing Papaldia’s requests until now, so why did they suddenly overstep so far? It was utterly incomprehensible.
The king decided to go down to the 3rd foreign affairs department’s branch in Le Brias to see if there was a mistake.
Papaldia Empire, 3rd foreign affairs department, Altarus branch office
“I’ve been waitin’ for you, Altarus King!” called the Papaldian ambassador, his legs crossed as he sat lazily on a chair. The king had to just stand there since there wasn’t another chair.
“I’ve come to confirm your country’s intentions regarding the formal request,” King Taara the 14th announced.
“Huh? Just like it says.”
“The Siltras mine is my country’s most important asset.”
“So what? You’ve got other mines. Or… Huuuh? Are you going against Emperor Ludius?!”
“Of course not, I wouldn’t dream of opposing him… but, can we not negotiate a change in the request?”
“… Uh, well, about my daughter, the princess’s enslavement, what is the purpose behind that?”
“Oh, that. Princess Lumiess is quite the looker, ain’t she? I wanted to give her a go.”
“I wanted to screw her. Once I get tired of her, I’ll sell her to some brothel.”
“…Is that… also the will of Emperor Ludius?”
“Yeah!!! What’s with you and gettin’ all smart with me?! As the empire’s ambassador, my will is the emperor’s will!!! You fucking barbarians! Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?!”
King Taara the 14th silently turned around.
“Hey! We’re not done here!!!”
He ignored him and left the room.
“Don’t you ignore me, fucking barbarian king!”
The king left the branch office.
Altarus royal castle—
“That fucking ambassador can go fuck himself back to Papaldia!!! I refuse their request, I’ll send them a letter severing our diplomatic ties, and at the same time I’ll freeze all of Papaldia’s assets in Altarus!” the king bellowed. “Assemble the army, tighten up defenses in the capital! Call up all our reserve troops! The oversight army is coming!!! We’ll show the Papaldia Empire that we still have our pride!!!”
If he rolled over and acquiesced to their demands, he might as well just surrender the entire kingdom to them. They had to attack the oversight army first and try to end things quickly, otherwise there was no way the kingdom could survive. Because of how wealthy they were, their military’s strength was in line with countries in the civilized areas. Even against the Papaldia Empire, they should be able to put up a fight against the slightly old-fashioned oversight army.
The king hardened his resolve to fight the empire as he watched the setting sun.
Papaldia Empire, imperial capital Esthirant
The Papaldia Empire was the only superpower from the Third Civilization. Emperor Ludius’s imperial palace had rows of pillars with such detailed, extravagant carvings on them that they awed visitors. There was a breathtaking garden that evoked the image of this world’s idea of heaven. The interior of the palace was gorgeous and dazzling, with treasures from all over the world on display.
This was what every ambassador and king thought when they visited: “They brought craftsmen from far-off lands to make those pillars. They can maintain this heavenly garden in pursuit of true beauty. They have the ability to decorate the palace with all these riches from around the world… Their national power must be tremendous.”
Esthirant was undoubtedly the most prosperous city in the eastern civilized area, area of the Third Civilization. Merchants and commonfolk visiting the city definitely thought “What an enormous city. How rich are the people here? It’s so beautiful.”
Inside the palace, there was a man kneeling.
“Raise your head.”
3rd foreign affairs department head Kyeos, with beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his head, looked up. Before him was Emperor Ludius, who carried himself with such dignity that it was almost unimaginable for him to be only 27 years old.
“The oversight army was sent to punish the Kingdom of Fenn… where is the preliminary report?”
“Y-Yes!! Please accept my deepest apologies for failing to receive approval to dispatch the oversight army—”
“We do not care that you failed to seek approval. We recognize the authority of the 3rd foreign affairs department. If we had to authorize invasions for each and every barbarian country, we would be forced spend all day, from morning to night, doing so. That is of no consequence, but what is concerning… is the matter of their defeat.”
Kyeos felt like there was a waterfall of sweating pouring from his face.
“How were they defeated? It could not possibly have been by the hand of the Kingdom of Fenn, could it?”
“Y-Yes! We are currently using all our resources to determine which country is responsible for this heinous action. From our investigations so far, we believe they are from outside the civilized area, since we have not obtained any more definitive information. We do not know enough to submit a formal report just yet…”
“You still do not know…” the emperor growled, his face screwed up in anger. “While that fleet consists of only old warships, for an uncivilized country to dare oppose us… That country must be held responsible for its impropriety. Be sure to thoroughly instruct them on the consequences of opposing our empire.”
Kyeos bowed very deeply.
“We will give all those other countries the privilege of watching the empire extinguish the Kingdom of Fenn. Once you discover which country defied the empire, we shall send the imperial army to destroy them along with Fenn.”
“I-I understand!!!” Kyeos licked his lips, then nervously opened his mouth again. “Your Grace, I have one other report to make.”
“Regarding the request sent to the Kingdom of Altarus, they have refused to hand over the Siltras mine, as planned.”
“Oh, did they?” replied Emperor Ludius, a smile playing at his lips.
“Furthermore, they have frozen all our assets in their country and cut all ties with us.”
“How bold… to rebel so openly against us… This matter has indeed gone as planned, but for them to go this far, it appears we have underestimated them. Do not send the oversight army, send the imperial army to crush them. How soon can they be ready?”
The emperor posed this question to the man in military dress standing beside him.
“We are always ready to execute the emperor’s will. At your word, we will depart immediately, decimate the Kingdom of Altarus, and seize all of their mines in your name.”
“Is that so… then this matter shall be left in your care. You may do as you wish with the citizens of Altarus.”
That day, the superpower Papaldia Empire declared war on the Kingdom of Altarus.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal capital Le Brias, royal castle
King Taara the 14th was speaking with his daughter, Princess Lumiess.
“Lumiess, all the arrangements are in place. Escape from the kingdom immediately,” the king pleaded impatiently.
“Why must I?”
“The Papaldia Empire has declared war on us… You understand what this means, yes? They aren’t sending the oversight army, but instead the imperial army.”
“For me alone to abandon the people and escape… I cannot allow it!”
“Given the differences in our national powers, our kingdom will likely lose a drawn-out war. The entire royal family will be executed. Lumiess, my daughter. The only thing left for you here is tragedy and pain. Please, just run.”
“I am a failure of a king, allowing only my own family to leave… But, as a parent, I simply want my daughter to be safe. Lumiess. I beg you, do as I say.”
“I… I understand…”
“Your vessel, disguised as a merchant ship, will leave the capital before the war starts. Of course, attendants will be going with you. You will ride the southern currents and go to Rodenius. If the opportunity arises, seek protection from the country that defeated Rowlia, Japan. From what I’ve heard, the people of Japan are all very kind.”
That night, Princess Lumiess boarded what looked like a merchant ship and left the capital.
A coast about 130 km northeast of the Kingdom of Altarus, offshore
It was a sunny, warm day with no wind and great, billowy clouds like those commonly seen in southern countries. The ocean was calm, with seabirds nonchalantly floating on the surface of the water. A huge number of ships left streaks of white in their wakes as they headed southwest. In total, there were 324 ships. This was the Papaldia Empire’s imperial army. There were 211 100-gun ships-of-the-line and other gunboats, 12 dragon carriers, and 101 attack transports carrying land dragons, horses, and ground troops. East of the Central World, as far as the Third Civilization was concerned, they were so dominant a force that their opponents would never have any choice but to surrender.
The imperial army was heading southwest to eradicate the Kingdom of Altarus. General Cius was watching the peaceful ocean. He was a strategist, and known by his men for being cold-blooded and merciless.
“We will soon be within range of the Altarus army’s wyverns,” came the report.
“So they haven’t come yet… As soon as there’s anything on the anti-air magic detector, send a hundred dragon riders out on alert. Other than that, all other matters are under your command.”
The anti-air magic detector was developed to find sources of magic from wyverns outside of visible range. Cius had a squadron of wyvern lords on standby to support the fleet from the air. Each dragon carrier carried 20 wyvern lords.
The Altarus navy was already 50 km from the imperial army; they could see them approaching from the horizon. However, since there was still so much distance between them, it wasn’t yet time to begin battle. (Because this planet is bigger than Earth, the distance to the horizon due to the curvature of the planet while on a ship is farther than 19 km.) The enemy didn’t have any dragon carriers, so all their wyverns came from land.
His mantra was to inflict minimal damage to apply the maximal effect. General Cius sized up his enemy as he glared at the sea.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal navy
“They’re coming to take over our country… those damn locusts!!!” yelled Navy Commander Bordo angrily.
On the extremely wide horizon, an endless array of Papaldian ships could be seen crawling forward. In most cases, people could only tremble in fear at this. However… because of the wealth they accumulated with their magic gem mines, even though they were outside the civilized zone, Altarus was able to build up an army on the scale and quality of a strong country in the civilized areas.
This was no easy task. They did not manufacture weapons in Altarus, so they had to deal with weapons exporters from the civilized areas and risk being outsmarted or deceived. They had to export their magic gems to be purified in the civilized areas and import Tears of the Wind God to power their ships. Because of their wealth, they were even able to obtain weapons customized for their country. If they faced any other country from the civilized areas, they would probably be able to defeat them.
“All right, as soon as the enemy fleet enters range of our wyverns, send them in and we’ll go on the attack at the same time!!!” Bordo directed into the magical communication device in his hand. “We will enter combat soon! 1st unit, prepare for battle!!! Got it?! Drum up your courage!!! Our country’s survival depends on us! Everyone needs to be sharp!”
Kingdom of Altarus, dragon rider squadron, Knight-Captain Zaram
The enemy had subjected them to many humiliating requests, which they had to just grin and bear before, but apparently they demanded the Siltras mine and the princess as a slave this time. The princess was beautiful and good-natured and was very popular with the citizens. Everyone also knew that after losing the Siltras mine, the kingdom would no longer be able to sustain itself. After seeing the formal request sent by Papaldia, they were outraged. “Even should our country be destroyed, we need to strike back against those tyrants!!!” became the overriding public opinion.
The dragon rider squadron, numbering 120, flew in formation to the northeast to strike at the Papaldian imperial army. Zaram gave orders via his magical communication device. Shortly thereafter…
“I see them!!!”
The Papaldian fleet came into view; its size was unprecedented.
“As planned, spread out! After that, follow the twelve squadron leaders’ orders!”
The Altarus dragon riders began to scatter and head for the Papaldian imperial army. Then, Zaram realized.
“!!!!!!!!!!! Diagonally behind us! They’re attacking with the sun at their backs! Watch out!!!”
The enemy wyverns came in a line from the direction of the sun. Naturally, the Altarus riders could barely see them at all. Their communications were interrupted, and their formation was broken. The enemies dove rapidly, fired off fire blasts, then continued descending. There were an astounding number of direct hits simply due to how many fire blasts were shot. Over half of the Altarus squadron were killed from this ambush.
The Altarus squadron tried to strike back at the wyvern lords, but the difference in speed left them unable to catch up. After escaping out of fire blast range, the enemy squadron once again ascended to an advantageous position high in the sky and fired another volley of fire blasts. There was no escape!
The Altarus dragon rider squadron couldn’t even get off a single attack as they were annihilated. Their opponents suffered no injury or loss.
“How fast… they were already taken out…” Navy Commander Bordo wouldn’t show his men how anxious he was, but in his mind he was thoroughly shaken.
“Two kilometers from the enemy fleet.”
The Papaldian fleet appeared hungry to engage with the Altarus fleet.
“Wait… are we already in their magic cannons’ range?!”
Puffs of smoke wrapped around some of the enemy ships. Papapapapapa… a second later, the sound of cannon fire came.
Because there were so many enemy ships, only a portion of them could perform a broadside. As time passed, more and more ships would become capable of attacking. The Altarus navy still needed to travel another 1 km to be in magic cannon range, but the Papaldian fleet could position faster than they could travel.
(We’ll be wiped out before we can even get in firing range!!!)
“Hard to starboard! Change our angle of approach to 45 degrees, keep our cannons trained on them! Here comes their cannon fire!!! Prepare our Bolts of the Wind God!!!”
The fleet slowly turned. The enemy’s cannon shells seemed to fly at them in slow motion. KRESHAWWW KRESHAWWW KRESHAWWW—pillars of water rose up high in the air. The first volley had arrived.
“Ship-of-the-line Sittee has been hit!!!”
The Sittee exploded violently. These were the rumored explosive shells… their range, power, and numbers were better. The vast majority of shells from the first volley hit the waves. The next volley would surely be both more numerous and more accurate.
“Preparations for Bolts of the Wind God complete!!!”
“Fire Bolts of the Wind God!!!”
The Bolt of the Wind God was a ballista bolt tipped with an explosive magic gem and fixed with a small sail and a Tear of the Wind God in the middle. The wind from the Tear would blow on the sail, vastly improving the range of the bolt. A weapons merchant would have been appalled at the number of Bolts that were fired one after another. However, because they had 2 km to travel, they were able to build up speed, giving them much more power than normal. If they were fighting any other opponent from the civilized areas, Altarus’s ability to outrange their opponent with this tactic would have been a trump card. This was a weapon that could only be developed by a country rich with magic gem mines.
Wind blew over the tops of the ships.
The Bolts of the Wind God were fired one after another at the invaders.
Papaldia Empire, imperial army
“One enemy ship was hit, it has gone up in flames!!!”
“Our accuracy was so poor… I suppose that’s the best we can do with our first volley.”
Because the fleet was so large, the number of ships in position to attack would increase over time. The enemy’s firing range was so short and their own ships were fast enough to get in range that this would be like shooting fish in a barrel. The officers were beginning to feel enthusiastic about this battle.
“The enemy fleet’s angle of approach is changing.”
“I wonder what they’re doing?”
“!! The enemy ships are firing their ballistae at us!!!”
“Ballistae?! Those have such short range, what’s the point of firing them?!”
The officers were all confused.
“!!! The bolts are… flying!!!”
A bolt flew over the 100-gun ship-of-the-line flagship Thirant and landed in the water 50 meters away. The tip of the bolt exploded, causing the water to burst dramatically.
“Based on our analysis, these bolts are probably enchanted with explosion magic and Tears of the Wind God.”
“How terrifying… Such a waste of good materials… However, they are nonetheless a threat.”
The bolts rained down near the flagship, causing explosions of water all around it. About ten of the Bolts of the Wind God scored direct hits on it.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal navy
“All one hundred Bolts of the Wind God have been launched, sir!”
“Good, now set a direct course for the enemy fleet!!! Get within cannon range as soon as possible!!! …How pathetic… for only ten of our bolts to hit, the royal navy has seen better days…”
They would focus-fire on the flagship, sink it, disrupt the command structure, then attack the rest of the fleet from a distance… or at least, that was the plan. The smoke around the enemy flagship finally cleared. Navy Commander Bordo froze in shock.
“Attack failed!!! Enemy ship is still afloat!!!” screamed the communications operator.
In testing, the Bolts inflicted immense damage on their own ships. Ten direct hits should have thoroughly destroyed the enemy flagship. But… while a portion of the deck was destroyed, the ship body was completely undamaged. Unfazed, the ship continued advancing and began to attack them as well. Thanks to the antimagic steel plating, the brunt of the attack was easily mitigated and no one suffered any serious injuries. Compared to the first volley, the empire’s second one was many times more destructive.
“Ship-of-the-line Beschial has been sunk! Ships-of-the-line Budehi and Pachera have also been sunk!!!”
“Ship-of-the-line Osia has been hit by a wyvern lord’s fire blast, a fire has broken out!!!”
Horrifying news kept pouring in.
“Damn… Damn it all!!!”
Bordo trembled as he watched the Altarus army’s main fleet burn. He squeezed his fists so hard his hands dripped blood. The number of attacking enemy ships kept increasing, which increased the number of shells that scored hits on the fleet, until eventually they were constantly, continuously devastated by explosions.
Navy Commander Bordo’s consciousness cut out when the cannon shell hit his ship.
“Enemy fleet has been eliminated.”
“Flagship Thirant was directly hit by ten of the enemy’s explosive bolts, but the antimagic steel reduced the effects drastically, so it only suffered minor damage.”
“What about the dragon rider squadron?”
“No losses reported.”
The strongest country in the Third Civilization, the Papaldia Empire, crushed the Kingdom of Altarus’s royal navy.
Kingdom of Altarus, about 40 km north of Le Brias
On this vast, empty coast in the wilderness, there was no place for people to hide. No fresh water, no resources, just land abandoned by people. However, the coastline was wide, so it was a convenient place for the army to land. After scouting the area carefully with their wyvern lords, the Papaldian army secured the bridgehead and set up an encampment. Their objective: Altarus’s capital city, Le Brias.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal capital Le Brias
King Taara the 14th finished the preparations for his departure. The Altarus royal navy was defeated and the empire had already landed. From careful analysis of the magical communications before the connection was lost, they were completely destroyed without causing much damage. He prayed for the soldiers who died for the kingdom’s sake. They must have had families; some may have had parents to nurse, others may have been betrothed. However, they still went to die for their country.
The king contemplated idly: if they were able to push back the enemy this time, he would do something for the families of those soldiers, to honor them… Unfortunately, the empire was heading south for the capital, and they were both powerful and still in nearly perfect condition. Because they were being attacked by a superpower, none of their allies had come to help them.
The king could do nothing else but blindly hope for victory.
Altarus royal army, about 20,000 troops
The royal army was in position about 10 km north of the royal capital, Le Brias. Their objective was to secure the bridgehead north of the capital and wipe out Papaldia’s 3,000 soldiers. Their giant army of 20,000 was assembled to steamroll the landing army’s 3,000. Normally, one would consider this arrangement overkill. No strategy could make up for the overwhelming difference in manpower. Furthermore, the enemy troops were simply in formation without any screens or shields.
Against a normal enemy, simply having these numbers meant they had already won. However, they were facing one of the world’s five superpowers.
“This should be our victory, but don’t let your guard down…”
King Taara the 14th gathered his resolve and determination.
Papaldia Empire army, ground force
The imperial army invaded along the southern coast. There were 3,000 elite troops and 32 land dragons.
Land dragons were large lizards said to only live in the Papaldia Empire. Long ago, when the empire was still expanding, they found a way to control these land dragons. Their hard scales repelled both arrows and ballista bolts, so the imperial army easily dominated ground battles. Now, the empire’s overwhelming national power placed it in the top three countries in the Third Civilization alongside the high elves. The reason it gained superpower status was due to these land dragons.
Land dragons weren’t as mobile as wyverns, but their scales were much harder, and their fire blasts had a short but wide range. Wyverns can’t stay in one spot for long periods of time, so land dragons were ideal for defending positions. They were about twice as large as humans, and had fairly round bodies with a triangular head that could extend and retract like a turtle’s.
In addition, the Papaldia army had human portable cannons and explosive shells, larger cannons pulled by horse, and flintlock muskets with lead shots. In the sky, there were wyvern lords scouting and sending information to the ground forces.
“The enemy’s main force has about twenty thousand men.”
“Twenty thousand, huh… They really did some work.”
“Yeah… However, if we can overcome that, Altarus is ours.”
“Hehehe… That’s a lot of responsibility.”
Army Captain Bafram smiled nastily.
Kingdom of Altarus, Rubyle Plains
No grass grew in the Rubyle plains. It was an open field in the wilderness with great visibility. Here, the Altarus royal army and the Papaldian ground force faced off about 2 km from each other.
King Taara the 14th, only thinking of victory, shouted, “All troops, charge!!! We’ll cut off the empire’s greedy hand here!!!”
Dust was kicked up all over as the Altarus cavalry, armed with spears and bows, led the charge.
That was when…
Explosions went off all over their battle formation.
“Wha—! What’s going on?!”
“Are those… magic cannons?!?! They’ve made cannons small and light enough for soldiers to carry?!?!”
The explosions took out thousands of soldiers. However, the Altarus soldiers continued weaving towards the imperial army through the explosions like threading a needle. These were human-wave tactics!!! They were obstructed by a storm of fire blasts from the wyvern lords up in the air. However, even with continuous cannon fire, against Altarus’s wave of people, it was like trying to stop a flood by throwing rocks at it. Even the fire blasts could only take out one soldier at a time.
Within huge clouds of dust, the Altarus army closed in on the Papaldia army. The Altarus soldiers saw a line of land dragons guarding the front lines. They were so big… However, there were only 32 of them, and there were 50 meters between each dragon. They didn’t think there would be any problem piercing through.
“We have the numbers!!! Trample them!!!”
The cavalry took out their bows and aimed at the land dragons.
“Those sure are huge targets…! Take this!!!”
The arrows cut through the air and flew at the land dragons.
Click! Clank! Clink!
All the arrows that flew true simply bounced off the land dragons’ scales.
“Tch!!! Leave the dragons, run past them!!! Chaaaarge!!!”
There were 50 meters between each dragon, so the defensive line was basically full of holes. After they got past the dragons, there were only 300 meters to get to the enemy soldiers. Ignore those pointless dragons and take down the troops!!! The army surged towards the dragons.
That was when the dragons opened their mouths, light coming from within.
“Watch out!!! Fire blasts!!!”
The line of dragons let out their short range, but high-powered, flames. They burned both the ground and their enemies black. The land dragons extended their necks to pan side to side, extending the range of destruction. The Altarus army jumped right into the hellfire.
Soldiers and horses on fire rolled around on the ground, screaming in pain. Because the fires were too strong and wide, the Altarus army had to stop its advance. The dragons slowly advanced, extending the area of the flames. The vanguard troops, unable to back up because of all the soldiers behind them, were burned to a crisp. However, there were about 300 cavalry who were able to get past the dragons. Those cavalry went straight for the Papaldia soldiers.
POP! POPOP! POPOP! POP!
White smoke rose up from the enemy infantry formation, and the Altarus cavalry fell jumbled to the ground.
“Wh-What’s going on?!”
POP! POPOP! POP!
The attacks continued, and soon all the cavalry who had broken through were dead. The Altarus army was completely stopped. Then, fierce explosions went off all over the kingdom’s army.
The king looked over at the sea. Nearly 100 gunboats had been beached and were providing supporting fire. Including some 100-gun ships-of-the-line, they rained shells down on the Altarus army. Under so much simultaneous, controlled fire, the Altarus army collapsed.
The king was killed in battle and the Kingdom of Altarus fell into the hands of the Papaldia Empire.
Most of the citizens were allowed to live to continue mining magic gems, but the entire royal family, their retainers, and all their relatives, were impaled on spikes and left on display in front of the royal castle.
Princess Lumiess of the Kingdom of Altarus prayed for the safety of her country as the merchant ship swayed on the sea. It rode the southern currents and ended up near the Principality of Kua Toine on Rodenius. The merchant ship was luckily inspected by a white ship with the flag of a red sun. The merchant ship, having long since run out of food, was taken in by the Japan Coast Guard, allowing Princess Lumiess to seek the protection of Japan.
Author note: March is the end of the fiscal year, so I am late. Because I’m late, I made this chapter a bit longer. (April 10, 2015)
TL notes: Mu’s La Kasami is a cute anagram of the Japanese battleship Mikasa, and has all the same specs. Interestingly enough, the real Mikasa technically was transported with Japan to the new world, so stay tuned for chapter 17…