Translator: Nigel the CN Translating Robot
Editor: Nate the Master Grammar Nazi
Co-Editor: PervySageChuck the Master B8r of the fishing industry
The interior of the MP questioning room looked like it had come out of a detective movie.
It was roughly four tatamis in size. There was a table in the center like a decoration, with a chair in front and behind it.
The chair near the door was for the “questioner”, while the chair near the barred window was for the “subject”.
There was another table in the corner of the room near the exit. This was where the transcriber sat, and also where the internal phone was located.
Yao drooped her shoulders as she sat in the “subject” chair. She had managed to keep herself from crying so far, but it was quite traumatic to be suspected for a crime she had not committed.
The MP opposite Yao was paging through the Little Red Book and a heavily-used dictionary, trying his best to communicate with her. The wastepaper basket beside him was filled with balled-up pieces of paper. It would seem it had been a very trying experience.
Because the MPs were treating her as a suspect, they were supposed to speak sternly and apply intimidating levels of pressure as they questioned her. The fact that the victim’s purse was in her possession as well was a strike against her. In other words, she was caught red-handed with evidence for the crime she had been accused of.
Still, they did not go that far.
That was because the MP who was the investigating officer (IO) was aware that his linguistic skills were mediocre.
When one did not share a language with someone else, one had to be very careful when trying to communicate. He carefully wrote down every word she said, translated it and tried to string it together into sentences, and then he asked Yao if that was what she had said. After all this hard work, he could finally say, “Ahh, I get it, no wonder, it was like this all along.”
What became clear was that this was not simply a matter of a simple purse snatching.
The MP went “Huh? This isn’t what the victim said at all,” and began thinking.
There was a brown-skinned Elven beauty in front of him. In addition, he found a word in the dictionary that could mean “was attacked” or “was beaten”, so he could not just disregard that. If she had really been sexually assaulted, she would need therapy for it.
The MP’s stern tone of voice eventually gave way to a gentle “Mhm,” as he listened to her speak. Then he cursed his inability to properly interview her before turning to his subordinate.
“Well, that was embarrassing. I didn’t know the details. Help me get Lelei-san for this.”
The phone in the questioning room rang, and the MP said, “Please hold on,” before picking up the handset.
“Oi, this is Kikuchi. Ah, yes, we’ve waited a long time. Bring her in.”
Once Lelei came in and heard of their difficulty, she settled it in an instant. After listening to Yao’s testimony, it was determined that the accusation of extortion was false. The man who made the false report confessed after being brought in, and he was arrested on charges of attempted rape.
The way crime was handled in the Special Region was that if the victim or the accused was Japanese, or if the crime took place in Arnus Town or the Arnus Garrison, the accused would be taken to Tokyo for trial. If the matter took place outside these places and if the accused and victim were both locals, they would be handed to a relevant judicial authority as designated by Piña, which would be House Formal in Italica. The accused would be judged under the Special Region’s laws. In this case, since Yao and the man were from the Special Region, he would be sent to Italica.
And so, the case Yao was wrapped up in came to an end. In order not to let this chance get away, Yao grabbed Lelei’s hand as she was about to leave and told her all about her desire to meet the men in green, and asked her to translate. Then she told her about the Flame Dragon.
Even Lelei could not pretend she had seen and heard nothing after hearing about how the Dark Elf tribe had been attacked by the Flame Dragon. She was confident that the Flame Dragon she spoke of was the same one that had attacked Coda Village, and many of Yao’s friends and family had lost their lives to the Flame Dragon.
“That is to say, you want me to ask the Japanese for aid on your behalf.”
“Yes. From how I see it, you are a generous and compassionate person. Please help me.”
Naturally, Lelei had no reason to refuse Yao.
Yao’s dream was gradually coming true. But shortly after, she was plunged into the depths of despair once more.
Arnus Town’s canteen — VIP tables
The air here was that of a freshly-cleaned cafe, while the stable-looking tables and chairs were lined up in a row, interspersed with decorative plants and pictures. They gave this place a high-class feel that was completely different from the chaotic atmosphere of the regular tables.
Although it was still too early for dinner, Bozes, Panache and the other noble daughters of the knight band had taken over the best places in the house.
After stacking several books on the table, they huddled up and whispered to each other. A careful listener might hear snippets of conversation like, “From Risa-sama,” “New edition”, “Dividing up translation duties” and so on.
“Ladies. We have new tea leaves today. Please, try them.”
The waiter serving them was called “Shopkeep”. He did not shrink from serving these elegant, noble ladies, but responded to them in a straightforward manner.
Apparently, he had been sent by Yanagida to train at a certain specialty restaurant in Ikebukuro.
Since normal people were prohibited from entering the Special Region, and they were selling tea and coffee from Japan at special prices to local chefs and waitresses, as well as training them, the JSDF were unanimous in saying, “Shouldn’t this be handled by Section 2 (Intelligence)?”
As they watched the hardworking subordinate of Yanagida, the various JSDF officers commented, “Wasn’t he the one who went to Ikebukuro for training?”
That being said, he still looked like a proper butler.
“Ah, this is good! What is this dessert?”
“Yes, milady. This is a Napoleon cake (mille-feuille). It is made with thin layers of wheat biscuit to reduce sweetness, which are then covered in alternating layers of brandy-flavored custard cream, and finally iced with chocolate. This specialty dish was made by renowned pastry chefs from Kiyoyama.”
“Marvellous. To think, the country called Japan has made desserts like this into an art form.”
The noble ladies spoke their praise in Japanese. Since they had come here to learn Japanese, they should obviously be using Japanese while they were here.
“I am certain the chefs would be glad to receive the praise of such informed diners.”
He carefully remained silent about the fact that the cake had not been invented in Japan. As a waiter, he was a high-class servant to high class people… and it would probably be best not to confront them with evidence of their ignorance.
Besides, his eyes were working hard to gather information. However, after he saw the true identity of the books on the table, his heart filled with frustration.
“They’re fujoshi,” he muttered. That word clearly illustrated what he was thinking. Perhaps it was too early for them to be exposed to this sort of culture. He had wanted to get eyes-on the EEIs (Essential Elements of Information), or “What they cared about, and what actions they would take for those things.” But now, how was he going to fill out the report?
On the other side, Yao sat dumbly at another table.
She was staring into thin air, her eyes not focused on anything. She was like a switched-off robot, sitting quietly there.
Lelei took a seat opposite her. She watched Yao as she thought.
“Sorry for the delay.”
Delilah, the restaurant’s poster girl, served them a pot of tea on a silver tray.
Lelei liked the herbal teas from Japan. This time, she had ordered St. John’s Wort, which was effective for depression. Just to be clear, this tea was for Yao’s benefit, not Lelei’s.
However, Yao did not react to the tea at all. Since it could not be helped, Lelei poured Yao a cup of tea, and urged her to drink it.
Yao’s facial expression did not change, but she mechanically brought the cup to her mouth.
After a while...
...the cup was empty at last.
Lelei filled the cup again, and urged Yao to drink it.
Yao maintained a stupefied expression as she once again mechanically brought the cup to her mouth.
After she finished her cup and put it back on the desk, she was finally composed enough to speak.
“It feels like a nightmare. There’s no hint of reality about it. It must be a dream.”
Lelei kept silent, and Yao lowered her eyes to look opposite. Once more, she brought the cup to her mouth.
After looking at Lelei’s emotionless face, the tears began to fall.
“..................You won’t say anything?”
“This is not a dream. What you heard and what you saw, all of that was reality.”
“It, it must be some mistake in translation, right?”
“The translation was correct.”
“Please. Say you got it wrong.”
“Even if I did, nothing would change.”
“But why? Why not?”
“Didn’t General Hazama explain his reasons already?”
“But... if it’s like that... then I…”
“We hope you can help us defeat the Flame Dragon. Please help us.” That was what Yao had asked General Hazama after Lelei granted her wish to meet the Men in Green’s leader. In addition, she had showed him the raw diamond her tribe had given her.
However, Hazama was in a funk from the beginning. He opened the map, and after confirming the location of Yao’s home village in the Schwarz Forest, he shook his head and frowned like he had bitten into a bug.
“It’s too far away. I’m sorry, but we can’t help you.”
Hazama continued with his explanation.
“Your village is in the Schwarz Forest, which is within the borders of the neighboring Elbe Kingdom. I trust you know what it means for an army to cross a national border?”
It was an ancient and well-established fact that marching troops over a country’s borders was synonymous with declaring war. This was the same in the Special Region and on Earth. Even without crossing borders, just massing troops near a border would raise political tension.
“Then, then how about a small force? I, I’ve heard the men in green only needed about ten people to chase off the Flame Dragon. A small force like that shouldn’t count as an army, right?”
“I can’t do that. Sending a few men to fight a dangerous creature like a Flame Dragon would be tantamount to sending them to their deaths. I cannot give that order.”
And then, Yao cried. It was all she could do. Yao had never cried like this before in her life. Even when she lost the man who would have been her husband, even when she learned her lover had died, she had rubbed her face, but the tears flowed in silence. They flowed now, down her palms and her arms to drip off her elbows.
She tried to silence her crying, but it leaked out anyway.
The officers at the surrounding tables had been keeping silent for some time now, because of the heavy atmosphere in the room.
Hearing the faint laughter of the girls attending the language classes only made them feel for Yao even more.
“It was like she hadn’t slept all night,” Delilah said as she informed the cook about the situation at the VIP tables.
“Can you blame her? General Hazama rejected the Dark Elf-nee-san’s request to take out the Flame Dragon,” the cook said as he continued preparing food.
“Was it because she made Rory angry?”
“That shouldn’t be the case, right? Maybe it had something to do with Boss Itami.”
“Well, that’s true. Then it must be because of people on top, them. I wonder why they’d refuse? I mean, it’s rare that all their commanders would gather up. Ah, I need to learn more Japanese…”
“Delilah, I don’t care what you do on your own time. However, please focus on your job. I don’t want to lose my job here. If anything happens, I’ll give your name out straight away.”
“Got it, got it. I won’t mess it up.”
After clasping her hands and lowering her head to the head cook, she poured hot coffee into cups.
Colonels Kengun and Kamo, as well as Lieutenant Colonels Youga and Tsuge were seated at a table some distance away from Lelei and Yao. The four of them looked at the crying Yao.
“Youga, is there really nothing we can do?”
“You know we can’t. Besides, the opposition is hounding Ichigaya (the Ministry of Defense), we can’t have any snafus now.”
Ltc. Tsuge, who had been listening for some time, decided to cut in: “So how does exterminating the Flame Dragon become ammunition for the opposition’s attacks?”
Youga replied, “The thing is, they’ll immediately pounce on any losses incurred, avoidable or not. The commander on the scene will get it for sure, but the engagement is also going to be in the Empire’s territory. Even if it’s to exterminate a Flame Dragon, crossing a border will cause a lot of problems.”
“What if we had a witness? Someone who invited us there?” Col. Kamo said as he shrugged.
“If we did that, it would be a perfect reason to call for a vote of no confidence on the Cabinet. Although we’ve secured a promise from the House of Representatives to ignore whatever antics the Senate pulls, the Cabinet still chose a weak doctrine.”
Just then, Delilah brought the coffee over.
While she was serving the coffee, their conversation stopped. Once she left, Col. Kamo smiled.
“Still, do you think he can really get away with it? I was laughing my ass off when I saw it on TV. He got scolded for his joke of an answer, but it was just a formality. To think he was only cautioned to watch his words for bullshitting in front of the Diet… is that his character?”
“He was lucky because the three girls behind him had a bigger impact. It’s only because of what they said that it was all dismissed as ‘It’s just Itami’.”
“In truth, the strange thing was what they had done after they brought the refugees back. Of course, they couldn’t just abandon people in trouble, so a more bureaucratic answer might have been because they did not want the kids to be uneasy. Itami did nothing wrong by saying ‘It’s fine, leave it to me’. For all we know, that’s why those three girls were so supportive of us,” Tsuge said as he finished his coffee.
“It’s not just defeating the Flame Dragon. Our original objective was to defeat the Empire and demand reparations from them as the plaintiffs. Since when did they scale us back to just defending the area around the Gate and preventing invasions? What’s the government thinking?”
“That’s probably because they largely understand the political situation of this world. If we defeat the ruling power here, the Empire, this entire continent will probably regress into civil war. That‘s probably why. After all, in the past the old Roman Empire destroyed Dacia (present day Romania) and ended up losing their defense line against the invasion of the eastern barbarian tribes.”
For instance, if the United States were to fall right now, China and Russia, now free of the US’ stabilizing influence, would probably go to war in various locations. One could already see the spectre of those conflicts in Tibet, among the Uighurs, in Georgia (the country) and so on. Only a fool would think war would not happen.
Similarly, if the Empire were destroyed, the stronger nations of this world would immediately wage war against each other to seize power. Although Japan’s JSDF was invincible in this world, their power still had limits. Therefore, in order to maintain peace in this world, they had to make sure no sides lost.
Kengun sighed heavily and then said, “Peace is important for trade and gathering resources. I prefer things this way.”
Kamo put his hands on the table with an audible thud.
“In that case, why did we even come all the way to the Special Region? If we were just defending the Gate, we wouldn’t need so much firepower.”
“Right now, a lot of wheels are turning in the Empire. We want them to cede the area around the Gate to us, pay us reparations, as well as sign favorable trade agreements. So we will negotiate, and if the Empire doesn’t accept, we attack. The plans are all drawn up, we should be able to take the Imperial Capital within 80 hours of the order being given.”
“And when will that be?”
“I’m sure it won’t be tomorrow, but I’m fairly sure the talks will start within the next month or so.”
Kamo looked to the ceiling. “No matter what, that’s in the future.”
“In modern warfare, once you see your target, that means someone is going down. Once we start, we mustn’t stop. Drive straight to the end and finish it quickly. That’s the important thing,” Tsuge said as he ordered a coffee from Delilah after finishing his cup. “Well, they say waiting is part of business, but I’m pretty sick of it.”
“Like I said, it can’t be helped, right?”
“That’s why, we should send out a minimum of troops which won’t cause a ruckus if they cross the border. That should work, right?”
“A minimum? That Dragon’s been compared to a flying tank, you know.”
“That said, there’s only one of them.”
“That’s true, and we have JASDF assets too. Can’t we kill it with Phantoms?”
Kamo thrust his body forward, “We’re downing it?”
“Can we down it in the first place?”
“The Dragon has armor comparable to 3rd-generation MBTs (Main Battle Tanks). I don’t think 20mm cannon will cut it. How about air-to-air missiles, could they take down a tank?
“That is to say, we can’t bring it down without enough firepower. Hm, why not try a different tack? ...Dammit. ATMs (Anti Tank Missiles) can’t hit high-speed flying targets. AAMs (Anti Aircraft Missiles) which can hit them don’t have a big enough warhead to pierce 3rd generation tank armor. How the hell did 3rd Recon hit it with a LAM (110mm Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher)?
“Then, what should we do?”
“That’s why, if you want to bring that Dragon down, it’s got to be like this.”
Ltc. Youga opened up a JSDF notebook on the table and began sketching a battle plan.
First, they would engage the target in the air with Phantom fighters.
“Didn’t we already establish that they couldn’t bring it down?”
“They can’t kill it, but they can force it down. Which means we’ll be attacking from an angle of 20 or 25 degrees. That should be enough to drive it downwards.”
Once the Dragon descended near ground level, it would be the artillery’s turn to shine. They would rain 155mm and 203mm shells on the Dragon’s head, giving it no time to breathe or recover while assailing it with the shockwaves from sequential explosions. After all, they could draw a picture of Mt. Fuji in the sky with their shells; there was no reason they could not do this.
And then, when they knocked it to the ground, their Cobra attack helicopters would press the attack with TOW missiles. If possible, they would bring in Type 74 tanks firing APFSDS to finish it off. In the end, the infantry would move in to verify the kill.
“Well, we probably won’t have to worry that it’ll suddenly regenerate or power up, like in manga.”
“Okay, hang on a bit.”
Now that they were finished, Kengun began totalling up the battle strength needed.
“Since the Type 99 (155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer) fires six rounds per minute, we’ll need at least ten of them. Since the target is mobile, double that to 20. As for other assets, we’ll need at least a company. Four Type 74 tanks. Two JASDF Phantom fighters. Two Cobra helicopters. Spotter helicopters. Then there are the support vehicles too… damn, that’s a lot of assets.”
“That’s why I said it’s impossible...”
As they heard Ltc. Youga speak, the other three could only droop their shoulders.
Yao was crying. However, she was fully aware that nobody would help her no matter how much she cried. She had already experienced what it was like to cry and not be comforted by anyone.
Therefore, she would stand up. She had to rise from where she had fallen and help herself up.
She had cried. She had hurt.
She wiped her tears clean with a handkerchief and wetted her lips with the cold tea. Then she stretched both her hands out. In this way, she would sort out the feelings in her heart.
Suddenly, she realised that Lelei the translator was gone. She had left a message with the Bunnygirl (Warrior Bunny) waitress: “I still have work to do. If you’re worried about not having a place to stay, you can sleep at the ALC.”
In truth, Yao did not mind camping out. However, she was worried that she might be attacked again.
She had received so much help from someone else, yet she had not even thanked her. Yao made a note to thank Lelei properly when she saw her again, and then verified the location of the ALC.
“In any case, I still need to figure out how to solve this problem.”
She had to find a way to save her friends and family.
For starters, she had already confirmed that the people called the men in green were a part of the army of the country called Japan. She also understood why they could not violate the borders of the Elbe Kingdom. She had learned that defeating Flame Dragons was not impossible, but attempting it with small groups of people was risky.
If their commander Hazama had just refused her out of selfish intentions, that would have made things simpler.
After all, people who sought money could be bribed with the diamond. People who sought fame could be tempted by the fact that they would be celebrated for defeating the Flame Dragon which even heroes could not beat. And if she encountered a lecherous man, she was confident that her body was superior to that of any human woman, and her 300 years of erotic techniques would leave them limp and pliable.
However, Hazama was not a person who could be seduced by these methods. He had not refused Yao’s request for personal reasons. He was a man who calmly prioritized the future of his nation and the rules of the military. Trying to tempt him would be a waste of time.
Therefore, she would have to convince his subordinates. In an army of this size, there had to be someone who could be swayed by wealth or women, or both. With that in mind, Yao looked around her surroundings.
APFSDS - Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot; a type of anti-armor warhead that is essentially a giant metal arrow.
LAM - Light Anti-Armor Missile, AKA the German Panzerfaust 3 manufactured under license by Japan.
WARRIOR BUNNIES - Vicious, cruel soldiers known for both decapitating their enemies with their teeth and also for causing Sir Robin to soil his armour.