Editor: Hexcolyte, TaintedDreams, Skythewood, ExLeecher-kun
First Lieutenant Itami Youji, 33 years old. He was an Otaku now, and would be an Otaku in the future.
Although he was an Otaku, he was not the type of Otaku that could write his own fantasy novels, draw his own manga, make his own figurines or even mess with Vocaloids. He didn’t even comment on the works of other people in the online.
Itami Youji was the customer-type Otaku that only read the works of other people.
He had attended each Summer and Winter Comiket in Nakano or Akihabara during his holidays, but not once to his local shrine. The wall of his room in the dormitory still had the autograph of Rumiko Takahashi from his high school days on it.
Instead of army-related books that should be on his bookshelves, it was filled by doujinshis that took up all of the space on it, causing him to just stuff all his brand new work related books into his closet.
Due to his favouritism of interests over work, he had little passion for anything work-related. For example, should there be a scheduled exercise, he would purposely apply for a holiday on the excuse of “I have stuff to do on that day…” and escape from his responsibility.
He once said:
“I only work for my interests, so if someone asked me whether I chose my interests or work I would choose the former.”
It was hard to imagine someone like him being in the Self-defence force, but he somehow enlisted successfully.
His motto in life was “Eat, sleep, play, repeat. And the life in between.” The phrase in one of his favourite manga was ‘The only time you are alive is when you are resting’, suiting a person such as him the most.
Thus, he had chosen a public high school that had low competition and had been admitted despite not studying much at all. From there, his grades only got worse as he only watched anime and read manga in the Anime and Manga Research Club in his school while occasionally lining up at the cinema on the premier of a movie.
His 3 years of high school life had only amounted to this.
In college, he had majored in a newly-established course that had little or no competition and had passed without much effort.
Although he had spent most of his college life with anime, manga, and light novels; he had never skipped or was late to classes and courses.
Thus, the lecturer’s comments for him here “Itami? Hmm, he’s an okay guy.” and gave him the grade of ‘Good’ after his 4 years in college.
“What career are you pursuing?”
When this question started to emerge among the graduating students, Itami had muttered quietly “I don’t feel like stepping into the society like those riajuu…” As, he knocked on the door of a local branch of the JSDF office one day
Anyone would exclaim “How the hell did he get commissioned as an officer?”
Because he lacked the mentality for national defence and passion for his job, his boss told him to ‘redo your training’, and sent him to a training unit famous for its tough training regimen.
Unsurprisingly, he contacted his boss and told him that he ‘wants to quit’.
His boss was also troubled. There was no point encouraging him verbally, because he wouldn’t have needed to go through all that trouble if it could work.
Left without a choice, he resorted to using the ultimate skill against Itami.
“If you quit now, I won’t approve your year-end leave.”(29th, 30th and 31st of December)
“Huh? Then I’ll try my best.”
Itami’s boss, till this day still has no idea why his words were so effective against Itami.
Thus, on a certain day in summer, when Itami was hurrying towards a doujinshi event, held in a corner of the city by riding the Shimbashi Line, something unbelievable had happened.
A massive ‘Gate’ appeared suddenly.
From it emerged an army of fantasy monsters.
The area beyond the Gate had been named as the Special Region by the government. However, it only took Itami seconds to understand that the land beyond the Gate was an entirely different world.
Then, he remembered.
“Ugh! If this continues, the Summer Comiket will be cancelled!”
His quick-witted thinking and actions would later be published in all the major news outlets.
When Kasumigaseki and Nagata city was attacked, all the politicians and government officials ran for their lives without even understanding the situation happening around them. Because there was nobody ordering them, the JSDF troops stationed there couldn’t be deployed. The south gate of Sakurada had been destroyed by the attack. With the chain of command of the police force absent, the police were unable to take effective actions.
Amidst that situation, Itami calmly grabbed a panicking policeman nearby and pointed towards the west.
“Lead the civilians towards the Imperial Palace for refuge!”
But he was answered with an “impossible!” After all, for a mere police officer’s thinking, the idea of seeking refuge in the Imperial Palace was not an option he could consider.
That might be so, but the Imperial Palace was originally the Edo castle, a place built as a military structure that could hold tens of thousands of people. When defending against the cavalries of the Middle Age, there was no better place than this.
No, they were not being sieged, so they need not hold down the fort and just let the civilians escape to the west through Hanzou gate.
Itami and the police force who lost contact with the command structure but still wanted to protect the civilians, barricaded themselves in the imperial palace with the cooperation of the refugees.
Although the security guards of the palace protested, an order from a certain ‘Important Person’ in the Palace was all that took to appease them.
The Edo Castle that was built by Tokugawa had never experienced a battle before. Ironically, after hundreds of years of peace, the palace finally showed its value as a fort.
After that, the first riot squad that was made up of guards of the Imperial Palace and the fourth riot squad deployed from Ichigaya autonomously started what would be known later as ‘The Defensive battle of the Two Bridges’.
However, nobody would object to Itami’s accomplishment that saved thousands of people a few hours prior to that. Thus, not only did Itami receive a commendation from the Minister of Defense, he was also promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant.
And thus, he won the day.
Sometime later, in the special region dispatch force camp.
It was the dawn after the third attack.
The bright sky shone on the land filled with numerous amounts of humans and fantasy beast’s carcass that covered the earth.
There were even wyverns that were shot down by the AA gun's 40mm rounds.
It was said in the legends that the scales of a dragon were harder than steel itself. It seemed that the legend was true, but it couldn’t withstand 40mm armour-piercing rounds raining on it.
“So a city worth of people is gone just like that?”
Itami thought while taking in the sight in front of him.
The number of enemies that attacked Ginza was around sixty thousand.
Excluding the fantasy creatures such as ogres, the number of casualties from the first attack to the third attack last night had amounted to sixty thousand. After losing a total of one hundred and twenty thousand troops, what would the enemy plan to do next?
There was no way to determine the population of this world. After all, their mission was to secure the Gate and the area surrounding it, so they didn’t perform any reconnaissance yet.
Using common sense, a country or tribe losing tens of thousands of soldiers would suffer a heavy blow. There were people that looked like children. No, they really were children, or could it be a certain race that has such characteristics?
It wasn’t certain yet, but for a country to send children out into the battlefield, it was proof of their despair.
If Itami has thoughts that far, the other commanders definitely would have the same thoughts.
That there was a need to start an investigation on this world.
In order to secure a sizeable amount of territory, defend the land around the gate, and negotiate with the enemy, there was a need to gather intelligence to formulate future plans. Luckily, using the Kawasaki OH.1 helicopter, they could take aerial pictures of the land around the Gate to make a map. If a runway was built, unmanned reconnaissance drones could be deployed.
After that, investigation on human cities, population, races, industry, religion, political landscape and the culture of the people could be initiated.
How were they going to investigate?
By going there directly, of course.
“Would it really work?”
“Don’t mind whether it would work or not! You’re going!’
Major Higaki replied with a tired voice to his subordinate who was slow to react.
Itami tilted his head bafflingly at the words of his new boss.
He was an officer serving under the 5th combat unit, a First Lieutenant that was sort of like a burden. He wasn’t that dense to not understand his reconnaissance mission, but he had no subordinates.
“Could it be that I have to go alone?”
There was no way he would be fine with that.
“I don’t believe I ever said that. I’m organising six deep investigation teams. Your mission is to lead the third one to contact the residents inside your assigned zone and understand their situation. It may be important for the future actions of the JSDF, so try to get on their good side if possible.”
“Hmm...If you say so…”
Thus, Itami scratched his head and became the platoon commander of the third reconnaissance platoon.
United States of America, White House
“Mr. President, here’s the 6th report regarding the Gate in Tokyo.”
After spreading jam and butter on a piece of toast, President Dirrell ate it before receiving the papers placed in a binder from his capable aide.
After glancing through the few pieces of papers, he placed the report on the table.
“Mr. Crealon. According to this report, the Japanese Army went through much trouble to go through the Gate, only to shut themselves behind walls around the Gate like turtles?”
“It’s as you say, Sir. The only action the JSDF has done recently is strengthening their defence, nothing more.”
The aide didn't use the term Army, but Self-Defence Force. However, the President didn’t mind his aide’s nonchalant correction and continued by saying.
“Hmph… an overwhelming technology gap. Superb soldiers who have undergone strict training. Just what the hell are they hesitating for? Tell me what you think.”
“Mr. President, please allow my blunt statement. Japan has learned from the World War. Although they have an overwhelming fighting power, to completely gain control over those vast areas of land, just using weapons isn’t enough. What they can do now is, after completely grasping the political situations of the Special Region, and adopt the strategy of suppressing key targets.”
That could be seen if one considers the unusual number of mid-level commanders in the force deployed beyond the Gate. After completing the phase of securing the Gate, they are now deploying small squads for intelligence gathering and pacification work.
After dabbing the grease at his lips, the president glanced at his subordinate.
“In other words, the Japanese Army is investigating the situation in the Special Region right now?”
“It is as you say, Mr. President. Prime Minister Houjou seems to be a cautious man and by not rushing things, he is now taking things step by step.”
President Dirrell took a sip of his coffee.
After taking a tough stance against the Ginza Incident with an unyielding attitude, Prime Minister Houjou had gained an unexpected boost in his support and is now politically stable. Thus, there was no need to rush things as it is.
On the other hand, President Dirrell’s support has been going down the drain. He had to show significant results to his people soon, that’s how the situation was for him.
“My dear aide, the Gate is a new uncharted land.”
“So it is, Mr. President.”
“There must be countless possibilities beyond the Gate. Just imagine it.”
Untouched resources, overwhelming technological advantage, unpolluted nature. For an economy that was made up of capitalism, it was like a pot of gold.
The presence of resources was confirmed.
After analysing the equipments of the attackers of Ginza, they were all made of mineral resources similar to Earth. Not only that, it seems that the Special Region could be rich in rare minerals such as gold and diamonds.
The difference in technologies could be determined from the design and types of weapons.
Although the equipment looked like works of art at a glance, it was only at the level of handmade items. The material and built wasn’t uniform, and there wasn’t any set design.
After considering the equipment of the cavalries and their attack strategies, one could easily predict the society and productivity of their civilization.
On top of that was the existence of fantasy creatures, beast and demi-humans on the other side of the Gate. Their genes could be said as a revolutionary mountain of treasure for the biological researchers.
This was the Gate’s worth.
This unnatural phenomenon had attracted the interests of scientists around the world.
“Don’t worry, Mr. President. America is allies with Japan. With our similar values and our strong economic ties, the benefits reaped from the Special Region should be open to America. It’s about time we work towards that.”
“It isn’t enough.”
Speaking of actions, the European Union had started to react.
China, Russia, as well as other rising countries have already started to act behind the scenes for the benefits granted from the Gate.
“The problem is, to what extent we can secure our interests.”
This was the result President Dirrell wanted to show to his people.
“Therefore, I think our country can participate in the action more. Considering the alliance between Japan and America, how about deploying our own army into the Gate?”
However, the aide shook his head regretfully.
“Our hands are currently full with the situation in the Middle East and we can’t spare the effort.”
Also, the possibilities of the Gate may not all be benefits. To tame the uneducated barbarians in the Special Region, large amounts of budget, talents and time were needed. Just like during the time the British colonized other nations, just using force was not enough.
The president sighed deeply at the annoying reality that prevented him from getting his way.
“Based on the report, the battles in the Special Region seem to be intense?”
“The number of ammunition consumption was alarming. But it seemed to be tapering down. The JSDF must have secured the Gate. After all, the difference in equipment and training is just too vast.”
“Hmph...So what shall we do?”
“It’s fine to just supply Japan with weapons and ammunition. We just need to give a heads up to the weapons’ industry. Next would be the signing an agreement to send our people in for scientific research. After that will be dependent on the situation.”
If they supported Japan too much, they may be dragged into a bad situation.
Many countries agreed that the JSDF being sent into the Special Region was for a just cause. But for a few countries such as China and South Korea criticised that Japan’s militarism had reared its head again and it is now invading others again.
No matter what Japan does, these countries would criticise its actions anyway, but he couldn’t ignore it since their denouncement was public. Should Japan decide to monopolise the profits from the Special Region, more countries with similar stance would emerge. Should such a situation emerges, America would not be safe from being called an accomplice to Japan.
“Let Japan pick the chestnut out of the fire.”
“Then execute an adequate plan when the situation calls for it.” said the aide.
However, President Dirrell still wasn’t satisfied.
For now, Japan had been moving all the right pieces, not allowing America to get involved.
President Dirrell had to show some significant results for his people. However, he couldn’t just ignore his aide’s warnings. Clicking his tongue in annoyance, he agreed to his aide’s advice and move on to the next topic requiring his attention.
The appearance of the Gate had the second largest impact in history ever since Columbus’s discovery of America.
Just like the discovery of America had caused Spain to development into an empire, the appearance of the Gate will affect the world’s structure greatly. Thus, every government in the world was now keeping a close eye on what actions Japan would take regarding the Gate.
Ula Pianca (Imperial Castle)
Each day, hundreds of lords and nobles would visit the castle.
Senators, nobles, and courtiers would gather in meetings, treating politics just like any other chores.
In the meetings, they would enjoy delicious foods, graceful dancers, gambling, courting before engaging in dialogues... That was the general feel of it. The nobles might even decide the deployment of armies based on the number of games they hunted.
However, with the recent defeats haunting their minds, each of them had a grim look on their face.
The beautiful pieces of art now looked like pebbles on the road while the graceful music sounded hollow to them.
What caused the Empire to hold its dominant position among the countries when it was under the reign of Emperor Molt Sol Augustus was the overwhelming military force and immense wealth.
Even a child would know that these were the reasons that the Empire was feared by many countries.
Now, the Empire could be said to have lost an arm.
As the generals and nobles in the court were part of the expedition, there was a huge amount of casualties.
With such an outstanding amount of dead people, the nobles had to spend their day rushing around from one funeral to another.
The emperor himself hosted the ceremony with mourning clothes and the lazy days of the castle continued.
“Your Majesty, the Alliance Army has suffered a major defeat. The dead and missing have reached sixty thousand. If we include the ones who were wounded, but are still able to resume their duties, it is around a hundred thousand. The survivors of the Alliance Army have each returned to their respective countries.”
These numbers had not included the ogres, goblins and giants. The demi-humans which had inferior intelligence were treated like warhorses.
Hearing Domestic Minister Marquis Marcus’s report, the emperor nodded his head tiredly.
“Just as planned. The cowardly senators who were afraid after we suffered some losses have nothing to worry about anymore.”
“But, the movement of the enemies from beyond the Gate is a concern.”
“Hmm, are you getting paranoid?”
“I was born with this paranoia of mine. I will never attain such magnanimity as Your Majesty.”
"So be it. In that case, I shall act as to relieve the worries of my trusted retainer. This is not such a difficult problem. The distance from Alnus Hill to here is far. It will be fine to use the Empire's extensive territory as a rampart."
The emperor continued.
If the enemies started moving their pieces, all the cities and villages leading up to the Empire shall be burned down, the wells poisoned and the food seized till the last grain of wheat. Therefore, amidst the scorched earth, no army could obtain supplies and thus stop their advancement. With this, no matter how strong their army and their mages might be, a chance for them to show their weakness would arise.
If there was no way to forage supplies locally, supplies would have to be sent from their own country. It would be a heavy burden on their horses. This way, the enemy's fighting potential would be lower the closer they get to the capital, giving the Empire’s army the advantage when fighting near the capital.
If they built strongholds at various locations and forced the enemies to bleed, the enemies would gradually crumble under the pressure. Such was the basis of this world’s military science.
Make the enemies advance deep into the enemy's territory and hit them when they are tired. Without doubt it was an easily understandable and effective tactic in any world. However, scorched earth tactics would turn their own lands into crisp, and it would be hard to undo the damage. Such tactics disregarded the livelihoods of the people by robbing their food and water, and the support of the people would be lost. Thus, the people would have resentment towards the government that would last for generations. Considering all these cons, it was hard to issue such orders politically. However...
“But...the tax revenue would decrease.”
Marquis Marcus used a reserved manner to articulate the damage that would be done to the people.
The emperor only said “Hmph. Just cancel a few planned parades and postpone the plans for the imperial villa.” For the powerful Empire, the suffering of the people and the approval of the citizens were such trivial things.
“There was talk of Marquis Casel, making a fuss.”
“Why do I have to care about what Marquis Casel's sanity?”
“It seems like he and some of the senators are conspiring to declare a state of emergency counsel.”
The Senate’s counsel could veto the orders from the emperor. The Senate even has the power to dismiss the emperor.
In the history of the Empire, the number of cases where the thrones of emperors were threatened due to the counsel from the Senate was not low.
“Hmph, how interesting. Just let them do what they want. Who knows, this may be a chance to round up all those conspirators at the same time. Order the Privy Council to look into this matter.”
Marcus had an astonished expression on his face for a second, but he still bowed respectfully towards the emperor.
The emperor’s weapon against the Senate was the crime of treason. It required the Privy Council to present evidence in order to sentence them.
“It seems like many have taken the privilege of being a Senator for granted. Looks like it's time to remove the weeds.”
Marquis Marcus bowed his head respectfully.
Suddenly, a voice that was clear as a bell cut through the quiet air in the palace.
The disrespectful person appearing before the emperor was the princess. In other words, one of the emperor’s daughters.
She had flame-like vermillion hair and white porcelain skin that was accentuated by her white silk garment. Kneeling on one knee, she displayed flawless court etiquettes.
“What’s the matter?”
“The Empire is now having an emergency. What has Your Majesty did to curb this problem? Is Your Majesty getting senile?”
Such sharp words emerged from her beautiful face.
Realising that there was another one who mistook privilege for authority, Emperor Molt smiled bitterly.
The princess’s tongue was sharp as usual.
“Your Highness, what urgent matters do you have to barge into the chambers of His Majesty?”
If the emperor’s third daughter, Piña Co Lada just sat still with a smile on her face, she would look just like a peerless work of art. However, her sharp tongue have been said to have made weak men faint, which was infamous in Empire.
“Obviously, it’s about the bandits occupying Arnus Hill. It seems that till this day Arnus Hill is still under their control. I couldn’t imagine that your Majesty would still sit with such a relaxed posture after hearing what happened to the Allied Army. Marquis, have you reported the facts to his Majesty?”
"Your Highness, I certainly did give the report. The Alliance Army did suffer heavy losses, but they defended bravely against the enemy's invasion of the Falmat Continent. Thanks to the courageous Alliance Army who sacrificed their lives in the battle, the enemy who received both physical and psychological damage and are shivering in fear as they built strong forts in panic, hiding within like hibernating bears. Such enemies are no threat to us at all."
After hearing Marquis Marcus’s words, Piña replied with a ‘hmph’.
“I’m not a kid anymore, I know that how things are put across matters. But to turn an army’s complete defeat into victory is unheard of for me.”
“It’s the truth.”
“So you are going to sacrifice the truth and paint the history books with your lies?”
“Even if you put it like that, I cannot answer.”
“You sly courtier! Isn’t the Holy Hill of Arnus still under the enemy’s complete control? They defended successfully? The truth is that the foot of the hill is filled with corpses.”
“It’s true that we took some losses…”
“Then, what are we going to do from now on?”
Marquis Marcus played dumb while explaining to her the projects such as recruitment of new troops and their training. Piña clicked her tongue annoyingly at Marcus’s words that anyone who was army related would know of.
“How many years do you think it will take? Could you ensure that the enemies of Arnus Hill would sit quietly and wait?”
“Your Highness. I am aware of that. But currently, all we can do is to follow the steps of recruiting, training and rebuilding of the army. Even the vassal states have lost their troops. Even if another Alliance Army was formed, the time needed for it to become reality would be proportional to the national strength. Even if the other countries reconstructed their armies later than us, they will catch up sooner or later.”
Hearing this, Piña exclaimed astonishingly:
“It would be impossible to defend against the invaders if we wait that long!”
Sighing, Emperor Molt held up his hand to stop their bickering.
Based on his observations, Piña had the tendency to cause unrest. Those without responsibilities were like this; always criticising but had no constructive suggestions. Even if they had made suggestions, it was all a wishful thinking that disrespected the tradition and social status of others. If someone voiced objections against them, they would counter by asking “What would you do then!”
For example, the only solution now is to follow the steps Marquis Marcus had said. Buying time for that would be dependent on diplomacy. To achieve that, the emperor’s plan to gather the vassal country’s troops and eliminate them in one go was successful.
The resigned emperor shrugged and said to his daughter.
“If you put it this way Piña, I have something to say.”
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
“Regarding the enemies of Arnus hill, what information we have on our hands now is very limited. Why don’t you go check it out?”
“Yes. We are still rebuilding of the Empire’s army, so we are lacking scouts and can’t draw them from our standing army. The enlisting and training of new recruits will need time as Marquis Marcus said. The only troops that are free and is adequately trained would be your Order of Knights. If the knights are not your playmates for pretend games, that is…”
Under the provoking gaze of the Emperor, Piña shut her lips.
The time needed to travel to Arnus Hill was ten days on horseback.
It was the dangerous frontlines, where tens of thousands of troops had perished. Now she and her Order of Knights had to rush to there by themselves...
Furthermore, it wasn’t for a magnificent battle, but a simple scouting trip.
For knights, who were mocked to be playing a game of pretend, although they took pride for being assigned missions, the contents of the mission were dissatisfying.
Also, she and her order of knights had zero experience in a real battle. Could she and her knights successfully complete this dangerous mission?
The emperor’s gaze carried the meaning of ‘if you don’t want to then shut the hell up’.
“Well then. Do you accept this order?”
Gritting her teeth, Piña raised her head with a determined look and...
“I have received it.”
After she said those proud words Emperor Molt responded ceremoniously.
“Umu, then I shall look forward towards your achievements.”
“Well then, Father. I shall be on my way.”
With that, Piña Co Lada turned her back to the throne as she left the hall.