Gate – Jietai Kare No Chi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri - Volume 1 - Chapter 7
The three waves of attacks by the Coalition Army could not really be considered a battle. A better example would be a horde of lemmings ignoring a cliff before them and committing mass suicide. And of course, the biggest reason for this was because the Empire did not provide any intelligence about the enemy.
At that time, the flags of over 21 nations were raised in the camps of the Coalition Army, and their forces numbered over 100,000. Hailing from all over the continent, the sight of soldiers from various nations gathering in one place was awe inspiring.
There were light cavalry on bare-bodied horses.
There were heavy cavalry, sheathed in thick layers of armor.
There were dragon-riders, mounted on Wyverns that soared through the sky.
There were battle mammoth units, which shook the earth with every step they took.
There were small-bodied soldiers who looked extraordinarily tough from the southern nations.
There were heavy infantry, who bore large, rectangular tower shields.
There were spearmen, whose points formed a forest of steel.
And then there were crossbowmen, catapults, ballistae, and others gathered together.
Though Goblins and Ogres were treated like beasts of war in the Imperial Army, some of the other nations let them wear armor.
Because they came from different lands, they competed through the splendor of their uniforms.
This time, their combined battle strength was equal to that of an army three times their actual number, and their advance darkened the sky and shook the earth for days. Everyone felt that this battle was a foregone conclusion.
Originally, Arnus Hill was designated as a sacred place, but in truth it had been little more than a slightly slanted hillock.
There were no trees to block one's field of vision and no large rivers to block routes of advance, nor were there precipitous cliffs. It was simply a little bump in the earth in the middle of a large expanse of open space.
They had been told that the top of the hill had been taken by the enemy, but they had not received any information about the local terrain at all. According to the Imperial troops in the area, the invaders from another world seemed to be doing strange things like digging holes and ditches, as well as surrounding themselves with a strange curled fence of little needles.
If they could build underground fortresses like Dwarves, it might have been troublesome, but Humans could only do that very slowly. It would be impossible to complete it within a month or so.
That being the case, the victors would be the ones with superior numbers.
King Duran of the Elbe Kingdom combed his white-streaked hair back and tried to guess at what Emperor Molt Sol Augustus was thinking when he had gathered this many troops from the Coalition to do battle with so few invaders.
Enemies of that number should have been easily taken care of with the Empire's own military power. There should have been no need to gather the armies of the Coalition.
Therefore, gathering the Coalition Army was not a military move, but a political one.
For instance, did he intend to demonstrate his own might before the Coalition Army? However, if that was the case, he would only need to summon the kings before him instead. Such great fighting power would not be needed. There must be some reason why he wanted to assemble over 100,000 men. After all, feeding so many men was not a trivial matter.
Perhaps he intended to use this huge force to attack some country, but since the Coalition Army had been raised with the intention of protecting the continent, there was no justification for using it as an army of conquest.
’’Then, Your Excellency, how shall we proceed with the attack?’’
Normally, Archduke League's words would have been worth considering in meetings with the other military leaders. However, all of them were thinking, ’’Mere tactics are useless when we possess such military might. In the end, we will crush them like a strong hand crushing an egg’’. As such, they did not give it much thought.
In truth, he had summoned Archduke League more to mock his paranoia than for a discussion.
’’Your Excellency, you should seriously think about it yourself.’’
’’You may say that, but if it's just our troops moving out, we still need to consider formations and tactics. Still, the enemy looks to number 10,000 at most. In comparison, we have a 10 to 1 advantage in numbers and the fighting power of 300,000 men, so wouldn't a mass attack end the battle without any effort? As for the enemy condition, we can probably figure it out once we make contact with them.’’
’’It is as you say.’’
’’You're surprisingly sensitive for a man of your age.’’
Duran did not hear League's mockery as he was lost in thought.
The movement of a large army would need time. One reason was because the roads were not flat, even, or even present, but the main reason was the sheer scale of the movement. After all, it took almost half a day to travel from the head of the formation to the rear.
Setting up camp would also take a lot of time, about 10 to 20 days.
Even so, the Coalition Army that reached Arnus Hill, encircled the hill in accordance to their prior arrangements, and began forming their battle lines while keeping a safe distance from the enemy.
That distance would be determined by individual experience. That was to say, they had to consider the ranges and minimum safe distances for archers, ballistae, catapults and so on. However, the JSDF had cleverly camouflaged their trenches and rifle positions so as not to let the enemy discover them.
As a result, the four thousand men of the Arguna Kingdom, the vanguard element of the Army, were now in great danger.
The Imperial troops that should have been stationed at the nearby hills had vanished without a trace;could it be that they had already been defeated? If that was the case, they had to rescue the survivors. The Arguna King had this in mind when he ordered his men to advance.
The Kingdom of Arguna was a small country with no special features. Its economy revolved around agriculture and animal husbandry. Because they had no special features, they lacked appeal, but they might have been counting on that to avoid being swallowed up by the Empire and the surrounding countries. Because of that, their troops were made of Ogres and Goblins with bows and battleaxes, followed by their mainstay troops, the heavy infantry and bowmen, with sorcerers as a final battle line.
This was their typical battle plan.
Their scattered bowmen would fire, and then the mighty Ogres and Goblins would slash into the enemy formation to throw them into confusion.
Next, the heavy infantry would advance in a densely-packed formation, their square shields formed into a mobile shield wall, marching in lockstep until they entered the fray.
If they had enough sorcerers remaining, they would launch a magical attack in concert.
Finally, the troops would open up and the cavalry would charge in to secure victory.
This was their usual tactic.
That was why they did not understand what had happened to them.
What hit them was a massed artillery barrage from the JGSDF's artillery units.
The JGSDF artillery was famed for their firing skill, which they demonstrated by drawing a picture of Mt. Fuji in the air with smoke. They showered the enemy with shells, which simultaneously detonated over a huge front.
That was why the Coalition Army said ’’They were blown away in a moment.’’
The victims were troops from the Kingdom of Arguna, who served as the vanguard, as well as the men of the Modwan Kingdom, and total losses were estimated at 10,000 men.
Their fire was intended to utterly destroy the enemy who had entered their kill zone. Therefore, they brought overwhelming firepower upon their foe. After that first volley, the attack was concluded.
’’I stood in formation, and thought for a moment that Arnus Hill had erupted. Princess, have you ever seen a mountain erupt? In my youth, I once saw a volcano erupt in the mountains. It was as though the entire mountain had exploded. There was no sign of it beforehand, like earthquakes, and then I heard the air tearing apart, followed by an unimaginably vast explosion. My heart nearly jumped out of my mouth, and that was but one of several occurrences.
As for what had happened... we halted to make sure of the circumstances, but all we saw before us was thick, black smoke.
Soon the smoke dispersed, and it was as if someone had driven a giant plough across the ground. In the earth that was dredged up we saw the bodies of the Arguna and Modwan armies, mashed into the ground like rice grains in a paella dish...’’
Duran closed his eyes and shuddered as he recalled that scene.
Besides him was a nun, who was trying to feed him some seafood paella. But he did not eat it, instead turning his face away.
’’And what of the two kings?’’
Duran shook his head when he heard Piña's question.
’’How shall I put this...?’’
Piña had searched through the villages near Arnus in the hope of finding the Coalition Army after the battle had started. The conclusion she had reached was that the Coalition Army had retreated back after losing their commander.
Though it was called a retreat, it was more like the shredded remnants of the Army who were limping home, given that none of the soldiers or officers had escaped intact. They were lucky that the enemy had not pursued them, which was how they survived. In this condition, the arduous trek home would probably be even more agonizing than battle itself. In truth, the bodies of troops who had fallen out had already been buried by villagers throughout the land.
Before long, Piña heard that a nunnery in service of the god Hoboro had taken in a man of high birth. When they rushed to the place, they found that it was King Duran of the Elbe Kingdom.
He was over sixty years old, and perhaps because of stress or some other reason, all his hair was now white.
His body could not endure a long journey on foot, and the troops who had been fortunate enough to survive had long since escaped. He ordered his few remaining troops who were still faithful to return to the country and spread word of this danger, while he himself recovered his strength in this nunnery. However, this was just a nunnery, after all, and there were no doctors and the food was poor in quality. His strength came back slowly, but bit by bit, it also drained away.
The smell of rot from the stump of his missing leg was beginning to fill the air.
His face was pale, and his blood was not circulating properly, and he had Battle's signs under his eyes. If he stayed in this state, he did not look like he would live long.
’’I was in the third wave. This is what I have become. I advanced with the Mocha army into the hillside, but iron thorns blocked our way. By the time we cleared the obstacles and resumed the advance, light fell like rain upon us, and right after that I was blown away in an instant.’’
’’King Duran, I will notify the Empire immediately, and have them ready a physician and a carriage. We'll talk about this after you regain your strength.’’
Although she was the princess, in terms of the peerage, Duran was superior to her by virtue of being a king. Piña fell to one knee, took Duran's intact right hand, and bowed.
But Duran shook his head.
’’I'm sorry to reject the Princess' kindness, but I do not wish to trouble the Empire. Besides, I am not long for this world.’’
’’Why is that?’’
’’I have been thinking about why the Emperor would summon the Coalition Army to fight this war... after becoming like this, I understood. The Emperor knew this would happen. I think he was angry that we remained intact while his troops were beaten. In other words, the Emperor wanted to have the enemy destroy us for him.’’
Duran did not use honorifics to dignify the Emperor, which showed his anger. Since he was about to die, he figured he might as well speak his mind.
’’Princess, do not say you did not know this. Place yourself in the position of the Empire. You can probably imagine what happened when the Imperial Army clashed with the enemy...’’
’’Yes. The Imperial Army was beaten, that much I knew. But I did not know what sort of enemy was waiting for us there, nor that the Coalition Army we sent there would end up like this...’’
’’Please go, Princess. I do not wish someone armoured in lies and wielding a sword of deception to stand before me. The Coalition Army would have fought to the bitter end to protect this continent. However, our greatest enemy was actually behind us. The Empire is our enemy. I say again, Princess, please go.’’
’’Your Majesty. It is too late to ask you to quell your anger, but could you at least tell me what the enemy is like? What magic do they use, what tactics? Please tell me about your tactics as well.’’
’’I will not speak of them. We made great sacrifices to learn that much. If the Princess wishes to find out, then please proceed to Arnus Hill by yourself. Perhaps the enemy will tell you for the price of your men.’’
Piña had tried her best. The Emperor had underestimated their opponents. He thought that he could make up the difference in fighting power with strategy and schemes. However, Piña felt that the enemy and the Empire were on completely different levels. She had the feeling that if the Empire did not understand the enemy's power, it would be completely destroyed.
As those thoughts ground in her head, the Imperial Princess stared straight at him.
’’That will not do. You must tell me everything you know. If not, I will take the Kingdom of Elbe hostage. If your Majesty does not speak, I will lead troops to Elbe and burn it to ash.’’
That got Duran's attention.
’’What, what is this!? First you took my soldiers, then my servants, even my life, and now you want my kingdom and family as well... like father, like daughter... Very well, do as you please. Besides, once I die, it is only a matter of time before my country will be swallowed up by the Empire. I can hear Death approaching, so all this no longer matters to me. I will rejoin my family in death, and then we will mock the Emperor and you when you follow us.’’
’’You've completely lost hope at the brink of death... But the Empire will not lose.’’
Piña stood, looking down at the dying king.
’’Anything is permitted, as long as one is powerful. That is what you believe in. However, we have our conviction and our pride. When we are invaded, we will naturally return the favor. The enemies at Arnus are a mighty army, with weapons of godlike power and tactics of divine potency. They crushed us like squalling babes. The Empire that brought them here will share the same fate as us. 'Anything is permitted, as long as one is powerful', you say? But the enemies at Arnus are stronger than you. The Imperial Army is in grave danger. When you find out and beg for help, nobody will answer. You have sown the wind, and you will reap the whirlwind!’’
After Duran shouted these words, he collapsed, gasping on his sickbed.
Piña had no words to say.
Even with power and strength, it was difficult to conquer a heart. It wasn't as though she couldn't do it, but if she had, the king would be dead.
Since there was no more to be gained from the King, she had to give up on him.
Duran's angry cries echoed in her heart, as well as his hatred of the Empire that betrayed him.
’’Your Highness, please do not order the knights to attack Arnus Hill.’’
Piña sighed as she heard the words that hit her right after she left Duran's room.
’’Hamilton, how stupid do you think I am?’’
’’I would not dare. But Your Highness is radiating an air that says 'We ride at once!'’’
If they set out, their objective would not be Arnus Hill, but the Capital. Piña thought this, but did not say it.
Her eyes roved over Hamilton, who resembled a very handsome prince at a glance. As if to confirm her gender, Piña gently patted Hamilton's flat chest. Well, it was soft and bouncy.
Piña wondered what the hell she was doing. She could hardly believe she was goofing off at a time like this... Or rather, maybe she was so wound up that she needed to blow off steam.
’’Forget it, whether or not we attack, we still need to go to Arnus Hill. We need to see the enemy with our own eyes.
’’Ah~ Princess, with just this many people? Won't it be too dangerous?’’
’’Indeed, it'll be dangerous, but you'll protect me, right?’’
With that, Piña left the nunnery.
Beijing People's' Republic of China
The report on Chairman Dong Dechou's desk described the Chinese Communist Party's strategy to deal with the 24th Far East Report. It was filled with lines of Chinese characters, and it was not only thick but also dense.
Chairman Dong looked at the report his secretary had given him.
The subject was still the Far East Report, but the inside was filled with Kanji, and a large portion of it pertained to the Special Region.
’’The Special Region, hm...’’
Dong had thought it was some kind of joke from the start.
Japanese anime had had a great impact on the world. His own son constantly bugged his parents to buy it for him, so when he first saw a report talking about a Gate that led to another world, describing monsters and medieval knights that could have come out of a movie, he thought there must have been some kind of mistake.
However, after double-checking it with the news agencies and the diplomats, he knew that this was the truth. Well, Dong's first instinct was that, ’’This must be a disaster for the Japanese’’, but once the JSDF had eliminated the soldiers that came from the Gate, Dong could no longer ignore what was behind it.
The predictions said that there were vast lands and ample resources on the other side. Why should Japan have the exclusive right to them?
Even though Japan was a small country which lacked resources, it was a developed country so it was wealthy enough even without the resources on the other side of the Gate.
Indeed, the Special Region was what China truly needed.
China had a population of over 1.3 billion people, which was steadily increasing. It was this vast population which limited the number of people which could enjoy a prosperous life, which required a massive amount of resources and expansive territory. He would even risk the censure of the international community in order to provide his people with a good future and fertile lands.
If the Gate had opened in Beijing, all problems would have been solved. They would explore and develop the Special Region and move their citizens through. That way, the burden on China would be decreased, and they could send resources back through the Gate, so they could ignore sanctions by other nations. However, the Gate had appeared in Japan. Rectifying that problem would be difficult.
Dong finished skimming the report, and sighed.
’’As long as the Gate is in Tokyo, the methods our nation can employ are limited. How much of a stake can we have in the development of the Special Region...?’’
Dong's secretary replied in accordance to Dong's thoughts.
’’It is impossible as long as Japan monopolizes it.’’
’’Indeed. Because of that, we need to place restrictions on the Japanese government's actions in the Special Region.’’
’’We will promote relations with ourselves and Japan. We will make demands as needed, or negotiate in a give and take fashion. Ideally, we could move half our population into the Special Region.’’
’’Will we make another China there?’’
’’I would be overjoyed if we could do that.’’
Dong smiled, and placed the report into his drawer.
Some time ago, the content on TV and the news had started to change.
The public television stations started showing scenes of how the natives of Australia and Tasmania had been massacred and violated and wiped out by the immigrant English convicts.
Or perhaps they would show how the Spaniards destroyed the Incan Empire.
Or Carthage, destroyed by the Romans.
These television shows made the same point, emphasizing and repeating it so they would leave a deep impression in their audience. Be it variety shows, soap operas, quiz shows, weekly magazines, the news, they added their own message to change their viewers' opinions.
The message was how a superior culture crushed and destroyed a weaker one.
They emphasised the tragedies that resulted from ethnic cleansing.
People would naturally sympathize with the underdog. They used this sympathy to sway people.
They promoted the idea that the strong should be rational, and should be controlled.
The images of African children starving in a desert stared out at society.
They paused for thought. They were led to stop and think.
Could it be that we're victims too?
What was the JSDF doing on the other side of the Gate? Fighting the enemy... Right?
The battles on the other side of the Gate received more and more attention. However, there was not much elaboration on them. The people were only assured that they had defeated the enemy's attacks. Since there were little or no casualties on the JSDF's side, naturally the people wondered about the fate of the people they fought. Were there victims on the other side of the Gate?
At the National Diet, a councilwoman from the opposition party rose and asked that question. The person answering it was the Under-Secretary of Defense.
’’In the three engagements, the enemy losses numbered roughly 60,000. None of them were from non-combat personnel.’’
The opposition party members were speechless.
Simply put, the enemy's single-minded attacks on our defensive position were like the exact opposite of the Hill 203 Incident during the Russo-Japanese War. The enemy was foolish indeed.
Casualties in war were natural. If we lost, our side would have more dead. If we won, the enemy would have more dead. The anger of the citizens after the Ginza Incident was understandable. However, to those people who felt that they were more reasonable and rational, who wanted to treat others with that compassion and understanding, the sort of people who wanted to ’’save the world with kindness’’, these figures were unacceptable.
《The Shame of the JSDF? 130 Civilian Casualties?!》
《Falsehoods In The Under Secretary's Reply!》
《Unknown Battles In The Special Region! Were There Non-Combatants Among The Huge Casualties?》
These topics circulated without end in the morning and evening papers.
TV and news reporters mobbed the Ministry of Defense and Parliament House, pointing their microphones and cameras at either the Prime Minister or the Defense Minister.
Prime Minister Hojo had stepped down from his post since his term had expired, leaving the current Prime Minister to deal with the prickly questions asked by the reporters.
Because the Chief of Staff and the Under-Secretary were suspected of corruption, as the person responsible, the Prime Minister's reply was extremely serious. However, his answers were reported as ’’No Comment’’, ’’Those are serious words’’ and so on, and this only lowered public approval.
At the Diet, the opposition party decided to follow up on that by arranging to have their members seated at the Speaker's podium, facing the Chief of Staff and the Under Secretary, who had to stand before them and answer their questions.
’’The civilian casualties that were reported were not caused in combat with our forces in the Special Region, but were caused by a natural disaster.’’
In response to the Under Secretary of Defense's reply, the opposition councilman asked, ’’What kind of disaster? Did it have anything to do with the JSDF?’’
’’According to the reports, it was a dangerous wild beast. It was a creature like those you would see in a kaijuu movie. The JSDF Special Region Reconnaissance Regiment engaged it in combat in order to rescue the civilians from the kaijuu.’’
’’A moment please. A kaijuu? You mean to say the Special Region has such life forms?’’
’’Of course, it is not an actual movie kaijuu, but something similar to it. Special Region Class A Dangerous Beast, AKA 'Dragon'. If possible, in the future, we will refer to it as a kaijuu. We have recovered a portion of the kaijuu's body as a sample.’’
’’Then we will believe this unbelievable story. That is to say, this incident was caused by civilians being involved in combat operations against this kaijuu?’’
’’No. The soldiers concerned used weapons to attack the kaijuu in order to protect and rescue non-combatant personnel, but all casualties were caused by the kaijuu.’’
’’Vice-Minister, earlier you said there were no non-combatant casualties. However, why did you not come forward about this incident and its many casualties?’’
’’The previous query was directed at enemy armed forces attacking the JSDF. During those engagements, there were no non-combatant casualties.’’
’’We are fully aware of the death toll, and that this is a disaster that has claimed many victims. In the future, please inform us of such things, then, how about the civilians rescued by the JSDF?’’
’’According to our reports, they have taken refuge in the nearby towns and villages. Because of the kaijuu's appearance, they abandoned their ancestral homes and were attacked en route to safety by the kaijuu.’’
’’I see. Then the survivors managed to escape. Do you know anything about their lives now?’’
’’We have not gone to that extent. Our priority is safeguarding the region around the Gate, and as a result we did not keep track of the refugees' further movements. However, we have concluded that the injured, the elderly, and the children without places to go will have trouble surviving on their own, and under the judgement of the on-site commander, we have taken them into our protective custody.’’
’’I see, then what about the people involved? Chairman...?’’ the opposition councilman said as he shifted his angle of attack.
’’In truth, without hearing from a witness, it is very difficult to get a clear picture of the situation from reports alone. Since using the Gate is very dangerous, it places a barrier between us and the people involved. As such, I would like to request that the JSDF officer in charge at the time and some of the survivors be brought here for an interview...’’
A request to speak with the relevant officer, as well as the protected locals. If the government had nothing to hide, they should not refuse. The opposition repeated their points.
The decision was made to deflect the attacks of the opposition party and the media with the truth. For that reason, they decided to bring the JSDF officer in question and several representatives of the locals to this side of the Gate.
Battle Sign: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle%27s_sign