Editing: CWilliams, JcqC, CEObrainz, SifaV6
Editing: CWilliams, JcqC, CEObrainz, SifaV6
Military Headquarters, Conference Room One
“The situation in the west has finally stopped deteriorating.”
That day Brigadier General Zettois, who had a grasp of all related combat logistics gave his report in the Conference Room situated within the Military Headquarters. This report allowed everyone to feel at ease for the first time in ages, signifying that the harsh battle condition in the west was gradually stabilizing.
“Regarding the overall battlefront, we are still slightly suppressed.”
From the map displayed in the conference room, they could see the western forces holding their ground stubbornly. Although they were unable to react in time, allowing the Francois Republic to push their battlefront deep within the Empire's territory, they were still able to prevent the Republican forces from entering the Rhines industrial area. It goes without saying that the combat units at the frontlines were almost at their limit, and the troops were fighting all the while being covered with wounds. They were forced to make emergency transfers from the capital, and to commit their units into the fray in stages.
Even though the situation was easing up, the entire battlefront was still being suppressed. Some of the bases in the rear were already within range of enemy Mage assaults.
“On the other hand, the mustering and reorganizing of our main forces has been completed.”
The western army’s resistance was tougher than the limits that were set by plan 315 and helped the Empire gain the extra time they needed. Within this period, the Empire managed to deploy their army, and reorganize the front line units.
And of course, there was a heavy redeployment of units from the northern front to the western front. But the large scale reassignment was constrained by the railways’ operational capacity. In the end, the progress fell behind schedule significantly. But on the grand scale, the regional armies received reinforcement from the army, and thus could regain control of the battle and reorganize their fronts.
“... In reality, they just managed to make it in time.”
However, the expressions of the Staff Officers showed were not that of relief. Brigadier General Zettois and the members of the General Staff Office that were present had the common consensus that time and a speedy reaction was a problem. Time, time, time. This was an element that was hard to avoid in a war.
Even though the redeployment of the army made it on time, the way the General Staff Office saw it, this was a dangerous period. The army that was formed on the foundation of rapid deployment through the Internal Mobilization Strategy spent a lot of time on domestic transport. This meant that their strategic options were not as flexible as they had predicted before the war.
In order to make up for this, they would treat the standing unit in the central as backup forces. However, the numbers from the western frontline showed that a few reinforcement units would be insufficient. Even with excellent reaction speed, the amount was still a big issue.
“As expected, we absolutely need to recommend for an increase in the number of units capable of immediate mobilisation.”
“The Operations Department also agrees that a freely available unit should possess a certain level of mobility and combat prowess.”
The essence of the problem was with the swift mobilization of the army. This was a consensus view in the military. To ensure smooth large scale movement, they hoped to adjust the timetable of the railroad. After all, the traditional tactic of the Imperial Army was to focus their prowess on a single front to achieve victory, speed was everything.
However at the same time, just like Brigadier General Zettois had advised and Brigadier General Rudelsdorf had concurred, they agreed that it was necessary to reserve a certain level of forces that could be deployed swiftly, and strongly urged for the creation of a strong quick reaction unit. If there was a chance that the large scale deployment of troops would not be able to make it in time, there would absolutely be a need for firemen to contain the fire just in case.
“Other than that, the Logistics Department proposed the research of a national defence strategy under the assumption that we would be fighting on two fronts.”
At the same time, they swiftly reviewed their foundational strategy. The risk of them achieving victory on one end only to have the other end falling apart had grown too large in the recent years. No matter how good it looked on the surface, the old strategy had reached the end of its usefulness. As a result, the officers of the Logistics department with Brigadier General Zettois at the head held strong suspicion towards the Internal Mobilization Strategy.
This opinion was questioning whether they should ‘change the fundamental assumption, and resolve ourselves to a war on two fronts?’ They feel that the concept of letting the local forces focus on defense while the continental army launches the offensive was no longer feasible.
“I’m not objecting to the research… But on the actual battlefield, we have to avoid a war on two fronts.”
And of course, it was military taboo to split one’s forces, this was an ironclad rule no matter what era it was. ‘Defeat the enemy on one side with all their might, then deal with the enemy on the other side’, this was the basis of the Internal Mobilization Strategy which had taken deep root within the General Staff Office.
Most importantly, in the eyes of Brigadier General Rudelsdorf and the Operations Department members, gathering enough forces with a combined military might that could easily crush the opponent enemy was the standard strategy that could not be denied.
“I agree that we should have a fallback plan, but the opinion of the Operations Department is that we should focus on avoiding such a situation.”
“Lieutenant General Rudelsdorf, that would be hard to achieve, considering the geopolitical elements of the Empire.”
“I can’t refute that, but the worse scenario for this proposal would be having inferior numbers on all fronts.”
After achieving regional supremacy, during the time they secure victory, the local forces would need to stubbornly stall for time. This strategy was born out of the history of the Empire being surrounded by great powers and their geopolitical necessity. In a nutshell, if they had the power to fight on two fronts, they wouldn’t need to work this hard in the first place.
“What if the situation doesn’t allow it? The strengthening of our forces on all fronts was in a way unavoidable if we are to improve our Internal Mobilization efficiency.”
However, despite the significant size of the regional forces, it was still crumbling before the Republican army. If the continental army didn’t make it in time, the western industrial area would be overrun. If the internal mobilization strategy fails to support one of the sides, it would be infeasible.
Therefore, the priority at the moment was to increase the capability of their defences, so the opinion of Brigadier General Zettois and the others might not be wrong.
“... Considering the current situation, it is very difficult to reorganize the army in broad strokes. Are there any other better alternatives?”
However, even during peacetime the reorganization of the army was a grand process. Asking headquarters to forcefully reassign units during an intense war would be going too far. This would be akin to changing all of the strikers and defenders in the middle of a soccer game. The best results they could hope for would only be a complete mess.
“Well then, I propose the formation of a quick reaction unit. Right now, we need to improve our response mobility, and deploy forces at the right time and place.”
The topic brought up was the formation of a quick reaction unit which was mentioned long ago. The wish for a highly mobile quick reaction force on the scale of an army was something which had been frequently advocated by many others. Especially the staff officers led by the Deputy Chief of Logistics Zettois, who had been pushing for it heavily as of late.
“Alright, the Operations Department agrees with this. But I have to say, this would be dependent on the scale.”
The Operations Department that would be putting the unit into active use also agreed, expressing that they acknowledge the need to improve reaction speed. They thought the continental army could fill that role. However, the scale of the continental army was too large, so they could no longer fulfil that mission. If not for the heroic stand by the western forces, the western industrial areas would have fallen, and they would be drafting the terms of a peace treaty right now.
“On this point, I would like to highlight that the readiness of the quick reaction force from the western and central army are outstanding. The Logistics Department would like to propose the strengthening of our reserve forces by enhancing the central army.”
And so, Brigadier General Zettois suggested strengthening the central army’s forces. Turning the reserve forces that would normally be dispatched during emergency situations into a permanent standing unit ready for deployment. This proposal would form an unutilized unit, which should typically be avoided in military practices, but in face of reality, they couldn’t care that much.
“But we have to take the eastern and southern army into consideration during the formation of this unit.”
“What a pain. It is abnormal that only the western army is earning merits.”
“There would be a drop in the vacancies to War College via war merits recommendation, and lesser chance to be posted to central. There is no doubt that the regional army would find this hard to accept.”
Even the Imperial Army has to consider all sorts of problems that could occur during reorganization; the fact was that the western army had earned more merits and bonuses than the other regional armies because of the hard fight they put up. However, due to budget constraints, there was a limit to the bonuses and positions they could grant, so the other regional armies would be given less than the norm. A considerable portion of the officer’s manpower allocation have gradually began to warp. Officers that were advancing ahead of their peers, and even their seniors in rank kept popping up. The eastern army also had to reluctantly give up some of their allocated slots for War College to the western forces.
“I don’t want to take the consequences this will have too lightly.”
“That’s true. Especially the eastern army that is losing out the most, their dissatisfaction is really strong.”
As mentioned by the Personnel Department, this was a development that their department did not wish to see. The eastern army was being neglected because of the merits earned by the western and northern forces. The soldiers who were enjoying the privileges in key positions for the defence of the eastern zone were suddenly facing a deterioration in their treatment. With their promotion delayed indefinitely, it was normal to feel dissatisfied and uneasy. It wasn’t just the earning of war merits, they were also worried about being surpassed by their peers and juniors. The problem hadn’t really surfaced yet, but their anxiety and frustration were becoming serious.
“The eastern army did not participate in the war against the Federation or Republic. They might be the ones keeping the peace in the east, but those who are just idling won’t be looked upon favourably.”
“The lack of battle experience would also be a problem. We need to achieve an adequate balance.”
Other than that, how they feel was also a problem, but the imbalance in combat experience was a bigger issue. They couldn’t fight a war with just the western army. They had to assume that the eastern troops would enter the war some day. If they just idly sit by before heading into war, it would be too much of a waste.
Even so, they couldn’t draw out a large number of veterans from the intense battles of the west in order to educate the eastern army.
“So your intention is to use the eastern army as the foundation to set up a flexible unit?”
In that case, the most practical method would be to pick personnel from the eastern unit to form a quick reaction task force. Brigadier General Rudelsdorf of the Operations Department was asking the Personnel Department whether they should use personnel from the eastern army to do so.
They didn’t have the means to let them experience war, but this was much better than letting the unit stay away from the atmosphere of war, Rudelsdorf’s proposal was based on this judgement. Not only would this lighten the burden on the western army, it would allow both sides that were about to fight over the budget get along peacefully.
“I want to make this an experiment on tactical mobility too, on the scale of a corp.”
Even so, proposals would always be accompanied by an adversary. Brigadier General Zettois and others might place heavy emphasis on the experiment on battlezone mobility, but resources were limited. Even if one agreed with their proposals, depending on the scale, it might be hard to accede to them. The division scale experiment they proposed in conjunction with the rail department was too extravagant during war times. It might be an idea that could revive the concept of a quick reaction army, but the opposition was very strong.
“I disagree. There are only two strategic reserve divisions in the east.”
In the perspective of the Operations Department that actively engages the units, there was no way they would agree to personnel being drawn away when reserves were limited.
“The scale is too big. We can’t allow the defences of the east to weaken.”
To them, when their predecessors organized the continental army which left the western forces weakened was a lesson. In the end, the tough battles experienced by the west was a failure of the national defence policy. Considering this point, even though they were far away from the battlefield, it would be dangerous if they drew too much people from the eastern army.
Aside from the main forces, the east’s reserve was only one corp. That was why they oppose taking any more units from the reserves that were already at bare minimum.
“How about taking men from both, the eastern and southern army?”
“That would have to wait until the situation in the north is resolved.”
If they could finish off the Federation to the north, they would be able to spare the effort. But the problem was, despite the continental army destroying the enemy main forces, they still needed time to suppress them. If they drew forces from the south and east at this time, that would be akin to putting the cart before the horse. There was no point in forming a unit that could reinforce any front that needed it if it would weaken the border defences.
“Well then, I want to experiment with something else. How about forming a wing of mages and placing them directly under the command of the central quick reaction force?”
The proposal raised by the Logistics department as the next best option, was actually the one they wanted to implement. The idea of a ‘quick reaction mage wing’ conceptualized by the department with Brigadier General Zettois leading the way, had already been submitted to the General Staff Office.
“You mean the ‘quick reaction mage wing’ idea? I agree with that proposal.”
If the experiment was limited to a scale of a wing, it wouldn’t affect the overall battle operations. From their perspective, although the usage of the mage wing would be incorporated as part of the overall tactics for an entire army, even if all of the members of the wing were to be withdrawn, the overall operation for the army could still proceed as normal.
For this point, they very much welcome the making of a mage wing which could be deployed on the front line flexibly as part of their reserve forces.
“You want to draw away one full mage wing?”
“The eastern army would be able to spare them. More importantly, a mage wing is easy to transport by air, and fast to deploy.”
Some may worry about the weakening of the eastern army, but they would be refuted because of the fast deployment time. A mage wing consist of 36 men. It was easier to transport than an army company.
Even if the 36 men needed 45 days worth of regulation supplies, it wouldn’t strain the logistics too much. If necessary, they could leave from the west and deploy in the east within a day.
“... Well then, we agree with the experimental mage wing. Let’s place it under the direct command of the General Staff Office.”
It was unlikely for the proposal to be rejected in the first place.
“Let’s shelf the idea to set up a quick reaction division, and see how the mage wing performs.”
The formation of a quick reaction division didn’t pass through, but fortunately, the experiment was approved. Setting up the quick reaction mage wing would definitely aid the formation of the quick reaction division in the future.
“Alright, on to the next item.”
Seems like I can keep the promise. After feeling relieved, Brigadier General Zettois relaxed his shoulders secretly. He then focused himself on the next topic.
U.E Year 1967 June 23rd Londinum WTN press conference room.
There were many mysteries around the existence of the World War.
Especially information about the Empire, even though they were heavily affected by the chaos at the end of the war. There were speculations that the two armies committed many taboos, but these were still covered under deep veils of secrecy. I once covered that war as a war journalist with ‘World Today’s News’. Like many people from my generation affected by that great war, I wanted to know the truth.
I had no intention of passing judgement. It was just pure curiosity about what exactly happened. Along with the comrades who agreed with my thoughts, we sought to uncover the truth behind the war, and proposed in the editorial meeting in WTN to make a documentary.
To be frank, we didn’t know where to start, and I wasn’t sure what to do. But fortunately, my superiors and comrades who understand me were willing to lend me a hand.
However realistically speaking, we were still filled with doubts about where to start. What was the truth behind the war? Won’t it differ for each person? There were all sorts of opinions, and it was hard for us to decide on the approach. Even though several secret documents had been declassified, not only did they make it hard to understand the whole situation in detail, it brought further confusion.
Back then, we focused on the information that was declassified by the United Kingdom earlier. We started investigating the battle of Darca that happened near the end of the war. This was seen as a diversionary attack, the southern battle which was widely discussed by the masses.
The sinking of the High Britannia flagship ‘Hooter’ of the 2nd fleet, along with the 7 vessels under its command in this battle was well known. Why was the fleet destroyed so suddenly? It must be the reason why the information was classified.
At first, we suspected that the United Kingdom wanted to bait the Empire with false information, that’s why all their units were gathered at Darca. The assumption was that in order to conceal the main objective of the surprise attack against the Empire, the United Kingdom offered the 2nd fleet as the sacrifice.
Wasn’t this classified in order to hide this truth?
We imagined that such a scheme happened on the battlefield. In fact, I had heard about this dirty affair when I was a war journalist, so we thought we could find evidence to support this theory. But after reading the declassified information with such assumption, our expectations were led astray.
“The worst day of the United Kingdom’s navy, was caused by xxxxxxxxxxx.”
This was the only sentence that was declassified, and all personnel related to the military kept their peace and refused to answer.
At this moment, it was probably fate that an acquaintance related to this historical battle brought an interesting tidbit. He hinted to me that I could uncover the truth by analyzing the rumours from the battlefield.
The 11 redacted characters xxxxxxxxxxx could be found on many battlefronts. Going by the way he put it, this might be a code word for a high level officer or spy. Referencing xxxxxxxxxxx with tarot cards, we dubbed it the ‘11th Goddess’ and began our investigation.
The results were astonishing. The ‘11th Goddess’ appeared in almost all major battles within the Empire. It’s first confirmed appearance was two years before the war, reported by the intelligence department of a certain country within the borders conflict zone. After that, we wondered whether the code referred to an intelligence agent or a spy.
However, we noticed something strange. Some of the people who experienced battle on the frontline had reacted to the name ‘11th Goddess’. They expressed that ‘this is the worst joke I have ever heard.’
Did we lump together several things into one because they all coincidentally had 11 ‘x’? When we thought about that, we tried using the words to differentiate places, and calculated the number of ‘xxxxxxxxxxx’.
After that, we discovered the battle that had the most number of the redacted ‘xxxxxxxxxxx’.
Aerial battle in Rhine (also known as the key battle of the Great War). In the most intense battle zone where Rhine was feared as the place with ‘30% sky, 70% blood’ hosted the bloodbath between mages in the sky.
Coincidentally, my colleague Craiger and I were both WTN war journalist who witnessed the aerial battle of the Rhines. Everyone must have heard about ‘Rhine where the devil dwells’, ‘Graveyard of the Named’, ‘The battle where even silver will rust’ and so on. The incredulous names might seem other worldly, but I was certain that it was all true. I could judge by experience that a real devil did exist on that battlefield.
For example, let’s assume that we made quick friends with a mage in a bar. It wouldn’t be a surprise if six short hours later, we attended the funeral of that mage who had been blown to bits. I experienced that three times.
‘Over there, humans are no longer humans.’ That’s what an aerial mage officer who I got along great with said before dying in battle, I could still remember it as if it just happened. That battle was a congregation of the madness of men.
All sorts of report surrounding the battle of Rhine were covered in heavy veils of secrecy even now. Many of the things were probably the result of the abnormal conditions of that bloody world.
However, ‘11th Goddess’ showed her absolute presence in the Rhine aerial battle. This piqued our interest. Even though we knew it would fail, we still asked the military about the details. They only told us the information we ‘needed to know’, the obstacle before us was tougher than we imagined. The officer who worked in the General Staff Office only said that in all earnesty.
He mentioned that he wanted the information to be made public after we were unable to contact him. Just when we were about to query him further, he was already uncontactable. Until this day, we still wrote in our memo that we couldn’t contact him.
He wished to say just one thing anonymously, and here it was, as promised.
We continued chasing after this riddle. In order to know what exactly happened during that crazy era.
(Author: Andrew, WTN field reporter)
Kriegel 3rd street Zolka restaurant
Originally, the classes in the War college were spread out and allocated a generous amount of time. And so during times of war, a lot of the lessons would be cancelled, and the content would lean towards practical battle application. Some of the trainees comment that the classes had improved in quality. Uga once experienced a two year course being trimmed down to less than a year, and found the content more gruelling than usual, so he agreed with this assessment.
He once thought that his talent would never lose to his classmates, but after training together with the group of brilliant stars, he felt that the world was really vast. But he felt really fortunate.
My parents never forced me down the career of a soldier, but when they heard I got into Officer Cadet School successfully, they were happy for me as if it was their own joy. The greatest happiness in my life was in meeting my wife that I wasn’t worthy of.
My newborn was unbelievably cute too. I probably had the mindset to ask about things I would never notice in the past because I was now a father to a daughter.
In a serene restaurant near St. Gregorios Church. Just like what I enquired earlier, I saw the figure of a little girl ordering lunch with a rifle and Operation Orb sprawled on the table. According to my friend in the Military Police, she would dine here every Sunday.
According to him, this was the only restaurant near the church that allowed its patrons to enter with weapons.
“Captain Uga, such a coincidence to see you here.”
When I realized, First Lieutenant Degurechaff had noticed my presence by following the gaze of the waiter, and stood at attention to salute me. I returned her greeting and walked to her seat. After ordering something light, I gave him a tip and asked him not to come near us for the moment.
This wasn’t a topic I could bring up easily in public.
“It’s not a coincidence, I just heard that you are always here. Is now a convenient time?”
“Of course, please have a seat.”
Her uniform fitted her nicely and didn’t look out of place on her, as she offered me a seat. To be honest, if Lieutenant Degurechaff wore casual clothes, I probably wouldn’t be able to find her. That’s how well she suited the uniform. She was a soldier worthy of the rank of First Lieutenant despite her age of eleven.
Aside from standard issue items, there wasn’t anything worth mentioning among her personal belongings. If I really had to say, it would be the newspaper laid out on the table she was making annotations on, and the Londinum Times and WTN special report she was using as reference. It did occur to me that the language courses in the War College recommends learning the languages of neighbouring countries.
The Londinum Times and WTN from a neutral nation were excellent learning material that could be easily obtained. But these couldn’t really be considered personal belongings.
“Captain, do you dine here often?”
She stopped annotating on the newspaper, and she probably didn’t mean to, but her gaze sent a chill down my spine. She was a petite girl who was also one of the few prides of the nation, the Ace of Aces. But as a father, I couldn’t suppress the urge to question her.
“Degurechaff, pardon me for asking, but why were you willing to join the army?”
How should I ask this? Despite the myriads of thoughts in my mind, it would be meaningless if I ask in a too roundabout way. After troubling over it, what came out of my mouth was this blunt question. The query was too simple, which made it hard for her to understand my intentions.
I never thought I would see the puzzled face of Lieutenant Degurechaff. Even though she was known as the steel masked girl, her face still showed emotions. I thought she lacked expressions, but she still had a human side about her. It might be careless to do so, but that made me relieved.
“Oh right, I hope you don’t treat this as a question from a Captain, just something that a classmate is asking you.”
I didn’t want to hear the superficial words one would normally give to their superior, what I wanted to know was her real thoughts.
“Since you have such outstanding talents, there should be many career paths you could pursue. Why insist on joining the military?”
If she only had exceptional talent as a mage, there wouldn’t be many options for her. Since the army craves for excellent mages, if one possess the talent for combat, they wouldn’t mind the issue of age too much. So someone as talented as her might be forcefully conscripted by the army at such a young age. If that was all, she would just be treated as a weapon.
But even after her conscription, she would be given a deferment because of her age. However, she relied purely on her talents and made it all the way to War College. Just eleven years old, and she successfully became one of the honourable Twelve Knights of War College, although she was ranked last.
If she relied solely on her inborn magic power, she might just stop at the stage of being a weapon. But with her talent, she should have many options, be it in engineering or research. In fact, the Imperial College accepts students skipping grades, and would waive fees for exceptionally talented students, and would even grant them scholarships. There was no limits to the paths available to her.
“... My late father was a soldier.”
“Late… My apologies.”
When I heard the word ‘late’, I understood immediately. It wasn’t anything rare, the Imperial soldier had always been neighbours with death. No matter who it was, they might die at any time.
All those who passed away had their own family, and the kins they left behind.
“Please don’t mind. It’s a rather common occurrence now.”
However, Degurechaff smiled as if she didn’t mind. As if she had already gotten used to it. But I felt that it was a tragedy for her to understand this at such a tender age. Did she enlist for the sake of vengence?
“I didn’t have other paths to take as an orphan. Orphans simply didn’t have the right to choose.”
However her answer was beyond my imagination, a completely unexpected response.
“But, if you can enter Officer Cadet School, couldn’t you receive higher education too?”
After all, she had the brains to overcome various obstacles and make it here at such a young age. From what I know, there should be many benevolent people who would be happy to help such a talented child. Why did she have no other choice?
“... Captain, pardon me for being blunt, your family background is really good right?”
“Not at all. I had a happy childhood, but my family is just average.”
My father was a middle ranking civil servant. My mother hailed from a plain family. We didn’t know any powerful people worth mentioning. At most, my grandfather was in the navy, and was happy that I joined the military.
However, what Degurechaff said next dealt an indescribable blow to me.
“Sigh, it makes me envious. Orphans don’t get to choose, and can only live one day at a time.”
From her tone, she seemed to be thinking about her days where she often starved. I didn’t say it out loud, but the air about her seem to be telling me of her pitiful past. The unbelievably heavy atmosphere made me lean back onto the back of my seat. When I realized it, I was already suppressed by her atmosphere.
“... The surviving kin of deceased soldiers should be able to claim death gratuity right?”
“Captain, I am a bastard child who never saw my mother’s face before. If not for the orphanage, I would have died.”
An orphanage affiliated with the church. I understood immediately. This might be an unfortunate beginning, but because the church saved her, that’s why she was so dedicated in visiting the church. Was that the reason why she prays so sincerely?
But, even so...
“I don’t know how to put this, you are still a child. You shouldn’t be a soldier anymore.”
Even though it was delusional to think one could quit the army during times of war, she shouldn’t give up on seeking other career paths. Soldiers were beings that get to eat free meals. That might be so, but they had to die when the time comes.
It was a tragedy for children to take on such work.
“... Captain Uga, are you questioning my abilities?”
However, Captain Uga only realized he had said something unnecessary when Degurechaff asked her question with a pale face. He carelessly slipped words of pity towards a soldier who held both fame and glory.
“I am not questioning your ability! I just feel that a child like you shouldn’t be on the battlefield.”
It might sound like an excuse, but those were my true feelings. The Lieutenant probing at me with her eyes was still a child. A young girl that should be protected. No matter who it was, they wouldn’t want to send their daughter to the battlefield.
Just the thought of sending my newborn daughter to the battlefield was enough to make me insane. Her father who gave his life in defence of the Empire wouldn’t wish for her to do that too. As a father, I was certain of that.
“This is military duty. As a soldier, this couldn’t be helped.”
But she said that without any hesitation as a soldier. She embodies these very words literally. This wasn’t just some talk by a soldier about principles, but an entity that became a soldier with no other choice, whose ego was shaped into that of a soldier.
Then, where was her real self?
“Are you serious about this?”
However, I still asked, despite knowing it was meaningless. Yet her eyes were serious, determined to not misunderstand my true intentions. If it was a joke or a lie, she wouldn’t have said it so firmly.
On top of that, she was a veteran of many battles, the weight of her words were completely different from people who didn’t know how the battlefield actually was. Her firm conviction had been baptised by gunpowder smoke and lead.
“... Captain, for you to be speaking like this, has something happened?”
She probably found Uga’s worries to be suspicious. To keep up appearance, Degurechaff raised this question to the other party before her, which made Uga feel ashamed.
“My child had just been born. I heard it is a girl.”
Even though she congratulated me respectfully, her action that simply followed basic courtesy felt lonely to me. Instead of the love for the child, the congratulations seemed more like a reaction to happy news. Her eyes seemed to be looking at a world that had nothing to do with her.
“Whenever I see you, I would often wonder if my daughter would need to take to the field too.”
She had already opened herself a lot, and I heard her frank opinion directly from her. But I couldn’t overcome the sense of wrongness that was hitting me.
“What is wrong with this society that sends children that should be cherished into battle? Don’t you think so?”
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I could only express the emotions welling up within me in honest words.
I could feel her gaze seem to be seeing through something. To be frank, even I didn’t expect to lose control to such an extent. But since I said it out loud, I couldn’t run away anymore. In the end, Lieutenant Degurechaff who was observing me spoke slowly like a shrine maiden announcing the prophecy of the gods.
“... Captain, you are a person with common sense. I would advise you to resign.”
Her words turned our position around.
“I was wondering what you want to say. This is the time where we are needed to clean up the mess and avoid the flames of war from spreading to the next generation. It is too much to ask me to retire.”
“You are a person who was able to retain his conscience even after knowing war. If you were to resign, you definitely have the capability to become a powerful force elsewhere.”
You should do that. She clenched her petite hands placed on the tables as if she was emphasizing that—— You should resign.
“I am a soldier. I am nothing more than that.”
“No, Captain. You still hold your rationality. Allow me to advise you shamelessly as a classmate, you should retreat to the back before the curtains are drawn for this crazy stage play.”
“Such a thing wouldn’t be allowed.”
This was war. The situation that would allow me to stay idly behind a desk job was over. And I couldn’t abandon my comrades, my batch mates, my brothers in arms and leave shamelessly. I had sworn with my friends standing with me in formation that I would never leave just like that.
“Captain, to live on is also a battle. This too is for the sake of not sending your daughter onto the battlefield.”
“... I will consider it.”
I couldn’t refute her. Despite feeling against it, I couldn’t say anything more. I was suppressed by the aura of a eleven years old child. I had no words.
“There isn’t much time, please decide soon.”
“You are talking just like a staff officer.”
“That’s the only education I have been receiving.”
It seemed like I don’t have any more effort to spare. I was asking a War College trainee to not talk like a staff officer, that was absolutely meaningless. After all, the education we were going through intended to mold us into high level staff officers or advisors.
That should be a compliment instead. There wasn’t any other way that my words could be more wrong. Even I noticed it subtly, and was rather shaken.
“... I see. It is as you say.”
It is as you say —— That’s all I could say. My vocabulary were really limited huh.
“Ah, our lunch is here. Let’s dig in.”
“... Yes, let’s eat.”
I met Captain Uga at noon, he seemed to be mentally shaken after his child was born. Yes, I agree with the theory that becoming a parent would induce psychological changes.
Anyway, Captain Uga would now drop out of the high flying path in War College. The fascist who dictated that one should convince the other party when they were mentally defenceless was definitely a demon like genius. This way, his evaluation would drop because of his wish to be stationed at the rear, and Captain Uga won’t be stupid enough to protest. That way, my ranking as one of the top two graduates out of my batch of a hundred would be furthermore guaranteed. Thanks to this, even though it would just be for my generation, I would be addressed as von, and become a staff officer.①
Going to War College was a rare experience after all. If my ranking was too high, things would become problematic after that, but I wouldn’t be able to act freely if my position was too low. With this point in mind, if I could earn an outstanding evaluation and obtain the honourable title of a Knight of War College, it wouldn’t be too bad, but that would still be dependent on my results and my relations with the trainers.
Considering the fact that I was suspected of lacking a drive and fighting spirit, this rank was adequate. I just need to adopt a more proactive attitude in the future. I had been down on my luck recently, so I have to watch out.
Nevertheless, let’s leave it at this for today. Captain Uga paid for my lunch just now thanks to my gift of the gab. Dinner would be hosted by the General Staff Office, I wonder what the menu would be. It won’t reach the standard of the navy, but I heard the quality of the dining hall in the General Staff Office wasn’t too bad. I was looking forward to it.
General Staff Office (Army) First Dining Hall
Just as when a batch of trainees from a certain War College was sharing tales of their exploits in one of the restaurants within the city, similar conversations was also happening inside the First Dining Hall of the General Staff Office.
However, the main difference was that the meals were restricted by formalities and tradition.
Long ago, the Imperial Army built an extravagant dining hall inside the General Staff Office. Not only did the soldiers complain that the dining hall was a waste, even the officers couldn’t use it conveniently, so it wasn’t evaluated well. However, a single sentence from the navy had turned all that around, which was ‘Even the dining halls of the army are unnecessary’.
In response to the navy mocking them, the army countered by proposing to cut down the unnecessary facilities on warships.
Which was ‘Just what the hell are those people who fight wars inside a hotel thinking’.
And so, the army united as one, and treated all criticism against the dining hall to be traitorous. After that, in order to make a show of the army utilizing the dining hall, conferences related to the army would often be hosted over a meal in the dining hall. When he received the notice for the lunch meeting, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen was just placing his bag onto his office desk in the Operation Department after finishing his inspection tour of the northern and western front. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen was already used to this.
However, the problem was the topic of the lunch meeting.
“I object. I strongly object to this.”
The moment he opened the letter, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen couldn’t help but open his eyes wide, he absolutely couldn’t accept this. His brooding over this matter had even caused him to lose his focus during the morning work session. And thus, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen who barely touched any of the food before him, was the only one among the high level officers to oppose the plan.
“Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, I respect your opinion, but you have to put aside your objective views.”
Yet unfortunately, his direct supervisor, Brigadier General Rudelsdorf who was serving as Deputy Chief of Operations did not support his view at all. After all, this was the proposal that would improve the strategic direction of the war that he had been waiting for. He probably wouldn’t let it go easily. But regardless, in the eyes of Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, this was simply too dangerous a case to let go.
“We absolutely can’t let her command the Quick Reaction Wing. Going by her character, she won’t stop advancing until everyone in unit are wiped out. This would be throwing the lives of the mages away!”
Lieutenant Degurechaff would be promoted to Captain the moment she graduates from War College. It made him afraid, but he could still resolve to this much. Lehrgen thought that he could assign her to the vacancies in one of the research labs or the training team and had let his guard down. He never imagined that the higher ups were planning to form an experimental unit under the command of Captain Degurechaff!
Good lord! This is absolutely a nightmare. She is too dangerous. That war theory was her strong point.
“You have expressed this several times, but the instructors in War College had evaluated her as someone who values the lives of her troops.”
There were some instructors in Officer Cadet School who supported Lehrgen’s view that she was too blood thirsty.
However, the views of the instructors in War College were different. Even when pushed to the limit during her staff officer training tour, she would still cherish the lives of the soldiers and avoid wasting them. This isn’t something superficial—— That was their conclusion. In the General Staff Office where everyone were graduates of the War College, this evaluation was something which held a lot of weight.
The report stated ‘Strong desire for combat. Despite that, she retained the common sense to avoid suffering losses.’ In short, they saw this as an excellent quality.
“Aren’t you bound by your prejudice too much?”
“... Didn’t you see her report from Officer Cadet School?”
Unwilling to give in, Lehrgen brought up the negative review that he had uncovered previously. However, as a staff officer who graduated from the War College, Lehrgen knew very well who his superiors would give more weight in regards to. The creature known as soldiers would respect the judgement from their own group more.
“Just think of it as her growth after being educated. War College says that she will be fine.”
The evaluation would probably be the opposite if she caused any trouble in War College. However, her great results and her achievement of being selected as a War College Knight had flawlessly covered for everything.
“Instead of being the result of education, her actions are closer to that of her true nature! We can’t give the Wing to her!”
At the very least, he had to raise his opposition. Even if this might hurt his career as a high ranking officer, he must not shy away from his obligation as a soldier. If they handed a Wing to her, the Wing would most likely be killed before even engaging the enemy. This was something he simply couldn’t accept as a soldier.
“Mainly because she is too young, and her rank is below the criteria!”
“It has been decided that Lieutenant Degurechaff will be promoted to Captain. Instead of leading a Squadron, she is a talent that should command a Wing.”
“The Empire can’t afford to let capable soldiers lay idle. You should know that.”
Yet the higher ups had already decided on the course of action. When he heard Brigadier General Rudelsdorf admonishing him, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen understood that. Resolving this took priority in order to improve their reaction time. There might be some lingering problems, but the big wigs would definitely turn a blind eye to it.
“If that is so, we should send her back to the Training Department, or work as a research personnel. She is still a child. Do you not understand just how terrifying the naivety of children can be?”
He tried coming up with alternate proposals. Traditionally, the General Staff Office welcomes debate. They believe that gathering viewpoints from more perspectives would reduce the flaws of their plans.
“Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, I will listen to your views. But this matter has already been decided.”
“This is the decision of the General Staff Office. I believe you know what that means.”
On the other hand, anything decided through debate would leave no room for opposition. They promote absolute scrutiny in their discussion, but once the matter had been decided, they would request everyone to work together and execute it without delay. If someone couldn’t do so, they would be expelled from the General Staff Office.
“... Ugh, pardon me.”
So it has been set in stone—— Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen wallowed despairingly. He never thought the epaulette of the staff officers would ever look so wicked, but he still suppressed his emotions. No, he would normally never go against central to such an extent. Despite all that, he was still very uneasy.
“Very well. We will proceed as planned and let Captain Degurechaff create a new Wing.”
“When the rostering is done, prepare the notification letter for her promotion to Major and her assignment as a Wing Commander.”
“That would be all. We will move on to the next topic.”
… Was this really fine?
“Seeing it once is better than hearing about it a hundred times.”
This was Tanya’s frank impression for the food on the plate that was served to her by the orderly.
Tanya knew this was a dish called Schlachtplatte. She didn’t mind the mixed platter of meat, and on top of that, it was braised, something almost impossible to do on the battlefront. Living in the trenches meant a diet with vitamin C was hard to sustain, so using a luxurious cooking method that would waste it was something that could only be found in the rear.
Considering the fact that people returning from the front lines would dine at this restaurant, including dishes that could only be found in the rear into the menu was a good idea. Another thing they took into consideration was that the cost of the meal was the same as of the ones in the frontlines, a careful way to show that the rear wasn’t splurging.
Everything was fine so far. So far.
The problem was that instead of being sour, it just tasted salty, and the pork was half cooked. If it were not for the potatoes, the platter would only be fit for the trash bin. This surprised her greatly.
Furthermore, the bread being served was K-brot②. This seemed to be done in order to advertise the bread, but to be frank, the navy’s rye bread was probably more nutritious and delicious. If it was up to her, she would beg them not to forcefully mix flour with potatoes to make bread, but to make normal food with them separately.
If she went to the navy’s dining hall, she would definitely get something nicer with the same budget.
The reason for this was simple. The army would never leak this out, but the facilities of the dining hall used up too much of the funds, so they had to take some of budget from the kitchen to cover the shortfall, which was almost an open secret. And unlike the navy, the army had a culture of not minding poor food, and that failed to stimulate the creativity of the chefs. Not just that, with the kitchen staff changing frequently, they didn’t have the skills to keep up.
Even the K-brot was served because it was the cheapest and least popular. The food in the army dining hall of the General Staff Office couldn’t even hold a candle to the mess hall of the junior officers, and it was pointless to compare it to the senior officer dining hall, which was the pride of the navy. The stubbornness of the Army in refusing to accept the accusation by the navy that this was a waste of budget was mind boggling. To be honest, it could compete with the United Kingdom in being the lowest standard of the culinary world. No, it might be worse than Haggis.
This wasn’t a taste that would entice anyone to go over on their own.
“... How does it taste, Captain? This is the speciality of the General Staff Office.”
That’s right, on their own. Oppositely speaking, this was a meal that was especially ordered by the General Staff Office’s Colonel Kodru, from the Personnel Department, and Brigadier General Zettois from the Logistics Bureau. So she had to eat. Or rather, she had no other choice but to eat.
“Yes, if I have to tell the truth, this is an excellent dish that reminds me of how I feel at the frontlines. I am very impressed.”
“Hahahaha, quite the splendid answer, isn’t that right, Sir Zettois?”
And that was why Tanya had to speak her mind while keeping her manners in response to Brigadier General Zettois’ question. Even if she was expected to endure coarse food, this was just too much.
He probably liked her answer a lot. Colonel Kodru laughed heartily and muttered: “Let’s rename the dining hall as ‘Reminiscence of the Battlefield’...”
“Your attitude is admirable, Captain, but you don’t need to hold back.”
“No, I have eaten my fill. Please don’t mind me.”
Honestly speaking, they didn’t seem to be enjoying their meal either.
“Really? You are still growing, it isn’t good to eat too little.”
“Yes Sir, but I have a tiny appetite. I will try to eat more.”
They had to use the dining hall in the General Staff Office because of the position they were in… And Brigadier General Zettois who was forced by the army to frequent this place had probably asked all new staff officers the same thing. Tanya felt that this was similar to how some of the professors in War College liked to play pranks on the students.
However, that was only during the meal.
After Colonel sent away the orderly who came to clear the plates, asking them to not come near after serving coffee, they started the meeting in earnest.
“Let’s get started on the main topic. Ah, it’s a bit late, but congratulations on your promotion, Captain Degurechaff.”
The moment she graduated from War College, she received the notice on her promotion to Captain. The one who approved of this was none other than Colonel Kogru himself. His well wishes felt really empty.
“Thank you for your kind words, Colonel.”
She wasn’t tall enough and barely reached the dining table by sitting on a high chair. Even if she straightened her back, she had to look up at the other party. Despite this, Tanya acted like a model officer and offered her thanks in a cheerful voice.
At the very least, in a huge organization like the military, that behaviour was very laudable.
And the Colonel from the Personnel Department was smiling kindly too. Even though he adopted this attitude to urge the other party to follow, etiquettes weren’t meaningless. At least for negotiations, this was a tool that might help identify the opponent’s weakness.
She spoke loudly, in contrast to the indifference held in her heart. She had already received her promotion notification.
The Colonel already knew this and didn’t need to make a show of congratulating her. What they were going to talk about next would be the key points.
“Not just the promotion notification, we also need to decide which unit you will be assigned to.”
That’s right. The career path of a War College graduate. The posting of the War College graduates wasn’t decided by the director of training, but laid in the hands of the General Staff Office.
This small group of people with a strong sense of camaraderie held the authority for personnel resource matters. It was obvious that displeasing them would not end well. And the reverse was true too.
“If possible, I would like to hear your opinion as a reference.”
“My deepest gratitude.”
The so called reference that Colonel Kodru mentioned would be pretending to listen to what I have to say. Anyone who worked in personnel affairs would have experienced times where they ignored the personal opinions of the promotees when appointing office, which wasn’t that rare.
No matter how friendly the people from the Personnel Department looked, I can’t let down my guard. Or rather, I know they are the type who lived in the world of superficial words. That’s why I have to respond with superficial words too.
“However, I am a soldier. If there is an order, I will humbly accept whatever unit I am posted to.”
A blatant lie. Saying that she would humbly accept whatever unit that was, would be better than startling the snake within the grass under most circumstances. And of course, she had to be careful to not pick the short straw.
“Very well. These are the documents for you.”
The Colonel seemed very pleased, he carefully took out a stack of staff requisition forms and handed them to me. They were all from front line units. And all were in urgent need of mages and officers. Although there were some units recuperating in the rear too. It seemed that many units wanted me… One wrong move from me, and I would be thrown into the harshest place without any choice.
“Oh right, the General Staff Office also submitted one.”
The last paper he proffered was simply a request by the General Staff Office for me to be posted there.
“Considering the merits you achieved, the Personnel Department would not dictate your choice. So pick a unit you like.”
“There are too many to choose from, I don’t know which one I should select.”
In actual fact, I didn’t have a choice. The General Staff Office which controlled personnel selection just wanted me to know how many units wanted me.
However, the General Staff Office was already asking her to join, what kind of fool would refuse? It was impossible to reject.
The Colonel urged me after thinking carefully. This might just be an act, but he seemed to be sincerely advising a young girl who was troubled by her career path. He was an excellent actor to mold such an image of a character. But long before he assisted with my poor acting, it was obvious that this was a third rate screenplay where the ending was clear as day.
“No matter what era it is, there are no easy jobs.”
I kept my back straight as I answered. It seemed that the other party was busy, and didn’t have time to accommodate my bad acting skills.
“I don’t know where the General Staff Office would post you, but good luck.”
“I am grateful, Colonel.”
Wishing me luck was a personal expression. In short, it was a message that showed his personal goodwill. He seemed to have grasped something and was evaluating me highly.
Which meant that it was a lie he didn’t know where I would be posted. I should assume he already knew. What do you know? Tanya wanted to ask, and unconsciously tilted her head slightly like a child.
In response to her quizzing gaze, the Colonel nodded sagely and stood up.
“It’s regretful that we couldn’t enjoy dessert together, but I need to make a move first.”
“Thank you for your hard work, Colonel Kodru. See you later.”
After speaking his piece, Colonel Kodru left the dining hall swiftly. With his eyes on the Colonel’s departing figure, Brigadier General Zettois called for an adjutant standing by at the side, and started sorting through documents, preparing for the main reason why Tanya was summoned.
“Since it’s you, let us go straight to the work content. You will be assigned to a unit under the General Staff Office. Although I am not your direct supervisor, you can assume that you are working right under me.”
“Yes Sir. Please take care of me from now on too.”
He explained formally. But even Brigadier General Zettois who have served in the army for many years never imagined that he would have a 11 years old child working as his subordinate.
Even the subject herself seemed fine with this, which made Zettois wonder if she had had a hard time adapting to life in the War College. But since she was competent enough to be selected as a knight and a veteran of war, age was just a small issue.
From our experience, something inside the head of this petite girl told us how foolish it was to judge the situation visually. We should feel that something was wrong about this situation. It was bizarre for her to display such extraordinary talent at such a young age.
Should we compliment the original concept raised by hers, or admonish her for being crazy?
And was she useful as an officer? That was the only thing Brigadier General Zettois and the General Staff Office was interested in. If she could be used, then nothing else matters.
In actual fact, she didn’t seem nervous about commanding a Wing despite not having led a Squadron before. From the way she was acting, Tanya probably knew that she would become a commander of a Wing immediately.
I heard from the Librarians from War College that she had studied operations on the scale of a Wing before. If she wasn’t confident, she would not have put in the effort to prepare to such a degree. This meant that the Captain Degurechaff in front of her was already a Wing commander before she was appointed to do so.
“Captain. The General Staff Office intends to have you command a Wing immediately.”
To tell the truth, it couldn’t be helped that she was so anxious. Commanding a Mage Wing would grant her the discretion to make decision and control a sizeable combat force, a unit scale that enjoys a particular amount of liberty. She seemed to think she was suitable for fighting in the front lines, which most of the instructors had pointed out. According to them, she ‘values the lives of the soldiers, and approaches battles eagerly and decisively’.
A motivated field commander who is also an excellent Mage Officer. She would be fine even if I order her to lead her unit to the frontlines right now.
“Yes, it is my honour.”
For Zettois, he hoped that as one of the few Mage Officer who studied in War College, she could take on a broader role. In a way, he felt this was a good chance.
“Very well. But you will be commanding a newly created Mage Wing.”
“A new unit?”
“This is the norm of the organization. Give it up, there will be many problems coming up.”
Forming a unit, training them, setting up a management system. Without the support of experienced veterans, these would be difficult to carry out. People could create a organization, but an organization couldn’t create people.
And so, if she could create the unit successfully, she would be acknowledged as a valuable asset. That was why she was forcibly given command of a Wing through the achievement of forming a new Wing.
“Tomorrow, you will receive your assignment as a Rostering Officer.”
Jobs for experts should be left to the professionals, Zettois made use of all the policies he could. It couldn’t be helped, this was necessary in order to hand a Mage Wing over to a Lieutenant who had never commanded a Squadron before.
For example, the post of rostering officer was originally in charge of rostering mercenaries into the standing army, a relic post from the middle ages. It didn’t require the experience of being a Squadron Captain, and could be held by any officer. It was used in order to make the management of the mercenaries uniform. The system was used about 200 years ago, but it wasn’t abolished and was still in effect.
Since it was effective on paper, no one could raise any objections. In the end, it might be impossible to protest since people might not know what a rostering officer was.
“Rostering Officer? That seems to be a rather archaic post?”
But she was very competent. Degurechaff knew that a Rostering Officer was an ancient post. She probably would know very soon that this was a means to game the system and forcibly promote her.
She is really reliable. If she were a man, I would not hesitate marrying my granddaughter to him. But she was too reliable, it made me forget that the soldier before me is just a little girl.
“It would be difficult to hand a Wing over to a Captain. That’s why we are forcibly promoting you to Major through the achievement of creating a Wing.”
Maybe he shouldn’t have said it, but when Zettois looked at her, he couldn’t help thinking things would go smoother if he accepted her as a comrade. This was creating a new Wing from scratch. There were a mountain of things to do. That was why it would be better if he had told her that she didn’t need to be wary of the Logistics Department.
“... Can I assume that I am a de facto Wing Commander?”
“Do your best. That would secure your place as a Major and Wing Commander.”
Looks like she didn’t forget that she said she wanted a Wing. A mere Lieutenant asking a Brigadier General for that. She must possess extraordinary resolve and confidence to do that. And her capability was the real thing.
A talent who possesses the ability of a mage and the gift of leadership. I am prepared for the objections by other departments from forcefully promoting her.
“Might I assume that I would be hated by people around me, and act with that in mind?”
Most importantly of all was her cautious attitude as she feigned ignorance to confirm the situation with me. Instead of thinking that she would earn the ire of the people around her, it would be more accurate to say that it was already happening. Even if the words of her becoming a Wing Commander after a double promotion didn’t spread, she would still be very prominent with the speed of her rising through the ranks. But she was mentioning it now in order to confirm the situation and then ask for assistance.
“You are speaking as if you just noticed. Say it then, what do you want?”
“When creating the unit, can I presume that I would be completely in charge?”
“That’s right. I will do my best to assign the personnel and equipment to you.”
In response to her question, my answer was very clear. She was free to do with it as she wishes. If needed, I will give her the full support of the Logistics Department. And just like what I requested Colonel Kodru of Personnel Affairs to express, the Personnel Department would give her leeway to a certain extent.
That was the agreement from the start. The personnel and equipment of the Wing would be arranged for her as much as possible.
“Just keep the number below forty eight, you can roster it however you want.”
And as compensation for making her create a Wing from scratch, I showed her some consideration. The most important being the size of the Wing. I secured the budget for an overstrength Wing. The reason I gave on paper was that this was an exception for an experimental unit.
“Forty eight, an overstrength Wing? Thank you General.”
“It is only natural for the quick reaction unit to be on the scale of an overstrength Wing. As this is a new unit, I prepared more budget for it.”
It wouldn’t do if the quick reaction unit was too weak. After he muttered that, the Operations Department who would be deploying the unit on the ground expressed their support. Zettois also knew that Rudelsdorf’s support from the back probably played a big part too.
However, Brigadier General Rudelsdorf’s decision was largely influenced by the real gains. Instead of spreading their forces out, a Wing they could keep at hand was more valuable. Going by common sense, anyone would agree with this sentiment.
“But there is a condition, you can only pick personnel that are not in the western nor northern front. This is the only point that is non-negotiable.”
The only condition was where the personnel would come from. They couldn’t draw the elites from the forces at the front lines. It was also the intent of the front line armies and the operations department to form the core of the unit from personnel who had yet to experience war.
In this way, it was a good chance for each of the armies to share their experience. For the various armies, as long as they manage to perform better than their counterparts, compared to having to restructure their pipeline, it couldn’t be any better.
This unit would definitely become a pillar of the Imperial Military both physically and symbolically.
“The Wing would follow your profession, an Aerial Mage Wing.”
That was a given. The order for the formation of the Aerial Mage Wing was already issued, and the rest would be just a matter of time. Captain Degurechaff seemed to know that and didn’t say a word. That’s fine, cutting the pointless chatter was more efficient.
“Please tell me about the chain of command.”
She was someone who was forthright with her questions. It would be easy if Zettois could give the answer ‘quick reaction force headquarters’, but all he could do was smile wryly.
Fine, the commander would need to consider who she was working under. The fact that she asked this was enough to earn passing grades. After all, she wasn’t looking for trouble, and was just raising a question.
“From the perspective of the Quick Reaction unit, you are working directly under the General Staff Office. The ID prepared for your unit is V600. Do you have any requests?”
“I don’t have anything special to request. Please proceed as usual.”
There wasn’t any hesitation in her answer. Which meant that she wasn’t interested in names and fame. But she recognized the need for the unit identification for administrative processes.
“It would be 601 then. Basically, you don’t have a supervising officer. Rejoice, you will be working for the General Staff Office directly.”
“... This is the spring of my life.”
“Absolutely right, how envious.”
There was a saying that the Wing commanders had it the easiest. Getting to stand on the frontlines as the commanding officer, and given a certain level of command autonomy. In short, they would be able to command the battle while getting into the thick of the fight. For exemplary soldiers, this was an easy position to be in.
Even more so for the Wing commander working directly under the General Staff Office who was free from annoying regulations.
“What about the deadline to create the unit?”
“As soon as possible, there isn’t any fixed deadline.”
“Understood, I will work hard in my selection.”
The base should be far away from the busy north and west borders, and the south and east which were prone to political interference, and set between them. Even though the administrative matters were handled by his subordinates, he could still deduce enough to inform her some things.
“Your base would probably be in the southeast.”
The complete opposite direction of the main battlegrounds. Which means she would have ample time to train her unit. Tanya smiled as if implying she understood that. Seeing Degurechaff smile reminded Zettois of some bad rumours. She might be overly strict in her selection of subordinates.
“Captain, a piece of advice. There are people who criticized you for being too picky on selecting your men.”
This meant her talent and ability to nurture subordinates were being questioned, and would affect her evaluation files adversely. In the army, one couldn’t choose their superiors or subordinates. Simply put, you could only think of a way to complete your mission with what you are given.
If you couldn’t do that, no matter how capable your individual abilities were, you would be a failure as an officer and soldier. At most, you would be a lone wolf ostracized in the organization. After all, a group could win by using overwhelming numbers.
“I am not questioning your ability, but this isn’t a good reputation. Do take note of this.”
“Thank you for your concern, General.”
She had the composure to handle this criticism calmly. How reliable. She had probably laid out a basic recruitment plan already.
“It’s nothing, this is an achievement you earned by your own powers. Take pride in it.”
“Pride goeth before a fall, I prefer a humble life.”
“Excellent. Seems like there would be no problems.”
Most importantly, this person wasn’t arrogant about making it big and being granted special privileges. Keeping true to oneself, not overindulging in benefits, and completing her obligations perfectly. An officer that was rare these days. No, this was the demeanour of a noble. Being a noble wasn’t something hereditary, but an issue of how they act. The title of von wasn’t everything. After all, having a noble attitude had nothing to do with bloodlines.
“Your assignment orders will be given tomorrow. Don’t leave your dorm today.”
“... How efficient.”
She sounded surprised. Makes sense, if her assignment she received yesterday was changed today, it would only be normal for her to complain.
“Think of this as a small apology on my side. Don’t worry about it.”
“You are too kind, thank you General.”
“I have high expectations of you, Captain. Best of luck.”
I entrusted the experimental unit to her. It was a heavy responsibility, and I was sincerely expecting a lot from her. Hopefully, this experiment would bear fruit.
This was a unit ID that didn’t exist on the records. After information related to the units was declassified after the war, aside from some that had been designated top secret, all the unit IDs were made public. But the V600 series was nowhere to be found.
The ID for the imperial army started from V000 for the units in central, and including all the regional armies, it only reached V400 plus. There were exceptions such as the unit under the research laboratory in central, but from the declassified data, they were either V000s or V500s.
Some experts deduced that in order to maintain a high level of secrecy, an exception was made for very sensitive experimental unit to be given ID in the V600s. The intense technological competition during the war advanced sciences by leaps and bounds. In order to finish at the top of the technological race, keeping things top secret was unavoidable. Did they set up a unit with another set of ID in order to keep the information classified?
This theory was very likely. We hurriedly made a list of related personnel from those retired from active service. At the same time, our team also attempted delving into the information on the Imperial Army science department. The results that surfaced pointed to an engineer who once worked under the central research laboratory.
We then gained the opportunity to interview this retired engineering officer who worked in the central research laboratory. His name is Adelaide von Schugel, former chief engineer. He was one of the leading developers that created the famed masterpiece, Elinium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb during the war.
The devoted Mr Schugel would attend mass every sunday morning. Thanks to the pastor of the church he visited every week helping to introduce us, we managed to secure this meeting. Even though we would be under strict surveillance, luckily, the other party was willing to grant us an interview.
Mr Schugel was just like how he was described, a very rational person. “I am happy to receive guests who came from afar during the day we pray to God.”
“This must be God’s will“ he muttered, and sincerely welcomed us who came without invitation on this day of rest.
To be honest, we already braced ourselves for an Imperial Engineer like him to be eccentric, but the actual result deflated us a little. We then confessed to the gentle Mr Schugel that we doubted his character before this, and asked him to overlook our narrow mindedness.
“This meant you already know your mistake. Just follow your heart, you will be fine.”
After Mr Schugel accepted our apology with a smile, we asked him about experimental unit V600. However, the moment we asked about V600 Mr Schugel who was about to answer was stopped by the Military Police who was keeping watch. There must be something behind this. We were sure of this.
However, after Mr Schugel glanced at the Military Police, with a wry smile, he said something unexpected.
“The unit V600 never existed. But gentlemen, go search the records. Learning about history is important for journalists too.”
Although we were confused by the reply that had sterned together with a smile which hinted his helplessness, we still made our decision. V600 wasn’t a unit name, but something else, and continued our investigation with this lead. The key that Mr Schugel had provided us was to study history.
The unit ID that didn’t seem to exist. No, it really didn’t exist. Until a military expert enlightened us, we hugged our heads and troubled ourselves over it bitterly for almost an entire month.
However, another expert who was introduced to us by our colleague in international news saw our mistake in one glance.
‘VXXX is actually a rostering ID.’
According to the Imperial Military regulations, units were rostered by the Logistics Department, and utilized by the Operations Department. The rostering department being different from the utilization department was the key. Normally, the utilization unit would simply use the rostering ID.
For example, if the Logistics Department rostered a V101 unit to reinforce the central army, the Operations Department would utilize them as the 101st detachment force. But if the parent unit was not decided, they would assign an ID normally not used to avoid misunderstanding. And so, even though the rostered unit V600 might exist, the 600th combat unit might not.
Mixing up the two resulted in us creating the phantom 600th unit that didn’t exist. Sigh, how embarrassing. We thought we uncovered the truth, but ended up in such a state.
And so we decided to search for materials in a bar on a whim, and wrote a piece on the journalistic team spending the entire day at the bar. (Unfortunately, the higher ups didn’t acknowledge the expenses we incurred at the bar.)
I see, the brilliant Mr Schugel must have thought we were chasing something amazing, but his biggest mistake was assuming that we were smart enough to understand his advice.
Well, at the least our investigation can continue to progress. That’s what we thought as we wracked our pained heads as we searched through the rostering records from the Imperial Logistics Department. Afterwards, we were able to easily locate what we were searching for.
After all, there was only one folder with the ID 600. It was just laying there, as if it was waiting for someone to find it. However, the inside was empty. All that was left was just a simple memo.
Notice from the Imperial General Staff Office:
We will always guide him, never abandon him, forever bounded to walk an unyielding path, onto the battlefield. All for the sake of victory. The mages we seek will head to the arduous battlefield, draw a pittance of a wage, live a gloomy life pelted by hails of bullets, shouldering unbearable risk with no guarantee of survival. Upon your return, fame and glory awaits.
General Staff Office 601st Rostering Committee
Speaking of which, what unit ID was the 601st rostered unit given? Unfortunately, this slip was the only thing we had. But for the Imperial Army that hated rhetoric phrasing, the emotions behind this note were abnormal.
It would leave an impression on anyone who saw it. After making that deduction, we started investigating the Imperial mages who served during that time. We hit the jackpot with the first person we interviewed. The answer was rather regrettable.
“Ah, that is really famous. It was about forming a political propaganda unit? The guys who went to sign up with sincere intentions all complained about it when they came back.”
“Political propaganda unit?”
“That’s right, I heard it was a unit to advertise ‘the justice and nobility of the Empire’.”
“Erm, you say that it was political propaganda, but we don’t have such information on our hands.”
“That is only natural. Using an Aerial Mage Wing for political propaganda will definitely invite censure.”
“I heard they spread the rumours about rostering a new unit in response to the strong protest from the Operations Department and front line units. This should be a rather famous incident.”
Could it be — The interview team carried that thought with them as they interviewed several former Imperial Mages. They were half hoping they would refute it; and the half hoping in resignation that they would answer ‘yes, I know about that incident’.
Maybe it was fate, or perhaps it was a stroke of luck, the situation was different than expected. We obtained reliable testimonies from several mages.
“Yes, I know about that incident. It was the result of the quick reaction headquarter’s failure in coming to a compromise in realizing their concept.”
“What about the political propaganda unit?”
“Ah, those are just rumours. I heard the quick reaction unit was given the unit ID V600.”
“Quick reaction unit?”
“Yes, the higher ups wanted a unit that was more convenient for precision operation than the continental army. But it seemed to be a failure.”
The above was from a former soldier from the central army.
“It seems that for the sake of convenience, they called the combined unit for the western and eastern units as V600.”
“... Have you heard about the quick reaction unit or the political propaganda unit?”
“Yes, that’s misinformation. Happens all the time in war.”
“What kind of unit was V600?”
“Simply put, it was the reorganization of the western and eastern units that suffered losses in the early stages of the war.”
“That’s right, I heard they weren’t disbanded, but reorganized for easy deployment.”
“What about the other rumours?”
“I heard it was misinformation spread by spies. It seemed to be used to intimidate the enemy with the news of us reorganizing an elite force.”
The above was from a former soldier serving in the northern army.
Aside from that, we heard all sorts of rumours that bordered on being ridiculous at first glance. This was like the collection of wartime rumours, making us hold our belly in laughter while being confused at the same time. The deeper we digged, the more rumours surfaced in unrelated matters. Even though there might be more than one truth, there should be a limit to this. We were completely lost in the fog.
What exactly was the truth? We need to consider this question. Despite hearing all sorts of rumours, something still didn’t feel right. After summing up the numbers, all the rumours had similar contradictory elements. Which meant there was definitely one truth which became exaggerated because of rumours. If that was so, we were nowhere near the truth at all.
Just like the war. People often talk about the war, telling the world what a tragedy war was. But the truth behind this war still wasn’t clear.
The chaos of ‘V600’ and ‘11th Goddess’.
Wasn’t that the very nature of that war.?
(Author: Andrew, WTN field reporter)
General Staff Office Rostering Branch
This was an office with the sign saying ‘General Staff Office Logistic Department 601st Rostering Committee’. It was situated in a corner within the General Staff Office, an office used to raise new units. And the owner of this office, Tanya Degurechaff was holding her head in agony before this unbelievable development.
The reason was the mountain of application forms on the desk before Tanya who was sitting in her custom chair. If she was recruiting fresh graduates, having so many applications would be understandable. If a high paying unit like the General Staff Office had set up a new unit and was recruiting fresh graduates, Tanya herself would apply.
But that’s not what the recruitment was about. Even though she felt her sensibility differed from that of others sometimes, this was completely out of her expectation. She wondered if she got something wrong, and even gotten a hold of the recruitment briefs that were sent to all the regional army, went through it word by word and didn’t find any mistake.
“We will always guide him, never abandon him, forever bounded to walk an unyielding path, onto the battlefield. All for the sake of victory. The mages we seek will head to the arduous battlefield, draw a pittance of a wage, live a gloomy life pelted by hails of bullets, shouldering unbearable risk with no guarantee of survival. Upon your return, fame and glory awaits.”
Will be deployed to the frontlines often, and would be the last one to leave in a retreat; even if it was an unreasonable order, they would need to break open the frontlines. Not permitted to surrender nor retreat, the warning that they would always be on the battlefield; The ending lines even confessed that the battlefield was a harsh place, and the remuneration would be poor. Logically speaking, she fulfilled her obligation to explain. Aside from this, she specifically highlighted the horrible scenes of the rain of bullets, the need to be ever vigilant, and that you would die from just one careless mistake. Even if you survive, you will receive medals, but no special rewards.
No matter how you look at it, this was a recruitment brief on the level of ‘one way ticket to hell and travel guide, thank you for reading’. Rationally speaking, no one would want to apply after reading this messed up recruitment brief. Tanya believed this strongly.
However, she herself would definitely not apply. If normal soldiers wouldn’t apply either, then she could use the lack of volunteers as an excuse to stall for time. She even admired the guts of the Logistics Department for letting her reckless recruitment brief pass through.
It was impossible for mages who were elites and receivers of preferential treatment to respond to such a recruitment criteria. This was like placing a recruitment ad on Wall Street or the City of London that says ‘Unpaid overtime, no employment insurance, frequent work on day off and no guarantee of medical assistance. When business deal is successful, you will be rewarded with the feeling of satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment (chances of success are bleak).’ No one would think that any economist or professional trader will apply for the job.
When she proposed such a harsh recruitment criteria, she already foresaw that just gathering volunteers would waste three months. But in reality? The results were the mountain of documents, all of them were applications from the regional armies.
It has only been one week since recruitment started.
“... Why is this happening?”
She held her head in agony at the desk by herself, and sighed after groaning out her question. Tanya thought there wouldn’t be many volunteers, so she only borrowed some people from the Logistics Department when setting up the office, and thought she could settle the other matters by herself. She was regretting her naive decision from the bottom of her heart.
It was problematic that her plans had been derailed, but before that, the amount of documents wasn’t something she could handle by herself. There was a limit to how highly she thought of her administrative abilities. Even if she wanted to solve the problem of lacking in manpower, it wasn’t easy to find help.
Basically, this was a strategical failure. It would be hard to improve the current situation with street smart tactics. Even though she wondered where the common sense of the people had gone, she had to admit that there was a huge mistake in the preconception of the plan. That’s right, the Rostering Officer from the General Staff Office Rostering Branch — Captain Tanya Degurechaff tasted defeat before the harsh face of reality.
In the end, the fact that the General Staff Office decided to set up an experimental quick reaction mage wing, and entrusted this huge plan to her was beyond her expectation. From Tanya’s perspective, she expressed her capability and grasp of the situation when she spoke to Brigadier General Zettois, in order to subtly leave a good impression on him. Yet before she knew it, the big shot entrusted a wing to her, and gave her free rein to set it up.
Tanya felt the urge to scream ‘this is insane’. However current the situation gave her no choice but to mutter empty phrases like the such of “As a soldier, shouldering this responsibility brings me utmost joy”, as she felt baffled in her heart.
The military bureaucracy was willing to back her, what an incredulously generous attitude. This was as incredible as watching something impossible unfold before one’s eyes. It was so strange that she felt the urge to blow someone’s head off with a rifle to see if this was really reality.
After all, even though this was just for the rostering of the unit, she had the right to ignore the top down hierarchy of the army in name. She had a lot of autonomy. The scale of the rostered unit was an overstrength wing. Even the deadline was up to her.
As she held her head and reflected painfully, her eyes happened to catch a glimpse of the telephone on her desk, and remembered the adjutant that had completely slipped through her mind because she was simply too busy. That’s right, I should have an adjutant. Finally remembering this, the idea that she could use her adjutant like a secretary flashed across her mind, and she picked up the phone.
It has been a week since she set up an office in this corner of General Staff Office. Tanya who finally remembered the existence of her Adjutant picked up the phone and called for her adjutant. What was on Tanya’s mind right now was to gather administrative staff to digest this mountain of documents. If possible, Tanya would want a dozen of meticulous Military Police officers who would not miss any details to help, and she wanted them right now.
“Yes Captain, how may I assist?”
Hmm? It seems to be the voice of a young woman, and a familiar one at that?
She was bothered, but for Tanya who was placing priority on gathering manpower, all that was on her mind was the piles of documents on her desk. She merely grunted when queried on permission to enter, not lifting her face from the piles of documents. But this was still the first time she was meeting someone who was assigned under her. I should greet her… With that thought, she raised her head, and her expression after seeing that familiar face had became almost like a pigeon that has been shot by a peashooter.
“It has been a long time, Captain Tanya Degurechaff. Victoria Ivanovna Serbiakof, reporting for duty.”
The person before her who came with a lively salute was the first subordinate Tanya had. Tanya returned her salute and peeked at the epaulette on her shoulders, a Second Lieutenant. From the looks of things, she completed her crash course in OCS, and was commissioned. Tanya lowered her arm after thinking this far.
“It’s been quite a while, Lieutenant Serbiakof. Ah, although it might be a bit late, but congratulations on your promotion.”
“Thank you Captain.”
Meeting an unexpected person in an unexpected place surprised her.
“So you are my adjutant?”
I see, the higher ups are really considerate. Letting someone of the same sex serve as her adjutant was unexpectedly thoughtful. Even if Tanya wasn’t planning for her subordinates to handle her personal matters, having a female adjutant would be more convenient — It was natural for the higher ups to have such strange worries.
And she only hoped that the adjutant wasn’t incompetent, but to think it would actually be her. This was a happy miscalculation for Tanya. If her adjutant was a capable and reliable subordinate, work would be much smoother. Fortunately, Visha was competent, so she could order her about as a secretary and adjutant.
“Well then, sorry to trouble you Lieutenant, can you help me borrow some men from the headquarters of the Military Police?”
To be honest, she wanted a line that could call the Military Police office directly. But for some reasons, her office’s phone couldn’t call an outside line from the Army General Staff Office. This was probably for secrecy, so she had to endure it. Might as well, putting in a full telephone is bothersome anyway.
“Understood. Captain, how many people should I get from the Military Police headquarters?”
“Anyone free would be fine. Remember to tell them I would like twelve if possible.”
“Understood, I will head there right away.”
Seeing her working so reliably made Tanya smile. The large amount of work was annoying, but a dependable subordinate would lighten the workload on her. However, that would have to wait until the manpower arrives. No matter what, what she needed now was to deal with the problem of the overwhelming applicants.
Taking a deep breath to muster her motivation, she reviewed the list of applications and found those from the western and northern army mixed in… Tanya remembered that the applicants couldn’t be chosen from the regional armies at the very front lines. Never mind, this is probably an administrative error, they need to check through such a huge number of applicants after all. When she thought about that, Tanya had a flash of brilliance to solve this problem, which was to re-evaluate the eligibility criteria.
By using administrative means, she would declare all the documents void and redo the recruitment.
“Alright, I should hurry and report to the Brigadier General.”
Tanya was planning to stall for more time by complaining that there were too many administrative mistakes. But the instant she stood up, she felt the need to review her shallow idea.
Wait wait wait, am I thinking about this too simply?
She hoped in the beginning that there would be less applicants than required. The need to get the unit combat ready as soon as possible while taking into account the need to keep quality high meant it should be easy to stall for time. Yet the reality was that the applications were overwhelming, and the reality became that it had became a situation that could easily mislead others into thinking that she was just wasting time in front of the mountain of documents, which was dangerous.
Or rather, it would be wiser in this current situation to set up the unit fast and drag the training time as long as possible to forge sturdy human shields. Tanya decided to change her mindset. It would be better to put aside more time to train her subordinates that would make good shields. She would pretend she didn’t see the western and northern documents. This is the result of thorough screening, consider yourself lucky this time. These volunteers are probably forced to volunteer anyway. Since this unit would despatch them to the frontlines they wouldn’t want to go to, they must be hoping that their application would be rejected. Which meant, it would be better to fail them. This would definitely help me accumulate karma.
In that case, it would be better to make use of the large numbers of applicants, raise the bar of entry to create the best unit ever. That would ensure the quality, and waste time on rostering the unit. If things went well, she would be able to spend a lot of time on personnel selection; Even in the worst scenario, her subordinates that made it through the selection would definitely make great shields, there were no downsides. Not just that, there were plenty of upsides to this.
Oh right. Since things had come to be like this, it would be best to focus on damage control. Likewise, one should always avoid making stupid decision process like that for what happened to the Concorde Aircraft.
Damage control meant minimizing the losses as much as possible. In other words, she needed to avoid beating the grass and startling the snake. If she could do that, there would be no problem. I will make my selection so stringently that not just demons, even demon gods would run at the sight of me.
When humans were forced into a corner, that was the most they could do.
Imperial Military General Staff Office, Subsidiary Building Conference Room Seven
“First Lieutenant Aishya Schubertz reporting in.”
“First Lieutenant Krejn Barhein, here to report too."
The two young First Lieutenants had rushed to the capital in response to a summon. When they reached the 601st Rostering Committee base in the suburbs, the time was exactly 11am. In order to form the most elite mage unit, they signed up after their superiors asked for volunteers. The two who applied out of a sense of duty and ambition stated their rank and name in high spirits.
“Thank you for coming. I am the 601st Rostering Committee Chairman Colonel Gregorio von Turner from the General Staff Office."
Colonel Gregorio received the applicants. From the other side of the desk, he stared at them as if he was trying to see through the two of them. The pressure from a veteran made the two soldiers straighten their backs.
After seeing the two applicants stood up straight, the colonel nodded as if he understood something.
“You must have received the notice for today’s schedule, but there has been some last minute changes.”
Even in OCS, changes to the schedule or objectives were something that happens frequently.
This must be a test of their ability to adapt. Judging this to be the case, the two of them focused their attention on the colonel’s every word.
“The schedule to report at 1400 hours to the seventh training grounds is cancelled. Both of you are to report to the 6th Aerial Combat Command immediately.”
Immediately — The key word was probably ‘immediately’. This was definitely a test of how well they could handle emergency orders.
“… Aside from that, I believe I don’t need to say this, but you have to keep the selection process confidential.”
This was followed by the obligation to keep the selection process secret. As expected. The two of them immediately thought about the confidentiality clause, and adjusted their original plan. In principle, flying was prohibited in the city. Normal means of transport should suffice, but they should stick with military vehicles. And if possible using the vehicles provided by the Military Police would be ideal.
“If your capability to maintain confidentiality should come under question, you will be sent back to your unit for disciplinary actions. Take note of that.”
After hearing the words of caution that goes without saying, the two of them left the room quickly and began their discussion.
“Sixth Aerial Combat Command? Sorry, do you know where that is?”
“Don’t worry, I remember it is a unit situated in Augsburg Airbase.”
This was a foreign Air Command for First Lieutenant Baruhein. Fortunately, First Lieutenant Schubertz knew it well. It was situated within Augsburg Airbase, located in the suburbs of the capital. She remembered it was a transport unit that could handle large scale transport operations. As they were applying to join an elite unit, they must have placed heavy emphasis on cooperation with the air force. Considering the need to maintain secrecy, it made sense for it to be in a base in the suburbs.
“So it’s in the suburbs? Oh no. Where can we get a military vehicle?”
It was easy for the two young Lieutenants to understand the reasons behind this. But the problem was in getting a military vehicle. Regrettably, the two of them were currently a part of the eastern army, and didn’t have the authority to give orders to the men here, and had limited options for transport. On top of that, with the need for secrecy, they would probably be sent back to their unit right away if they took a taxi to the base.
“……Military Police team seconded to the General Staff Office should have vehicles. Maybe we can borrow a car from them."
As First Lieutenant Schubertz was feeling troubled, the figure of the Military Police saluting her gave her an idea. She walked forward briskly, and confirmed that the Military Policeman before them was a Sergeant seconded to the General Staff Office. If it was him, there should be a car they could borrow. And since they were working under the General Staff Office, there wouldn’t be any problems with maintaining secrecy.
“Sergeant, can we borrow a car from you?”
“Of course Lieutenant. That won’t be a problem."
He obliged immediately. Pleased with his efficiency, the two officers expressed their thanks. After saluting respectfully and sending off the two Lieutenants, the Sergeant and his men from the Military Police all hung their heads and sighed the instant the car was out of sight.
Even though it was their duty to despatch the people who had been tricked to that base where they would be sent back to their unit, the numbers were too many.
“...Is that the 14th group?”
After confirming verbally, he once again realized how many people were tricked.
“How many groups are left today? I heard there are five more.”
Just today, they had received the same request 14 times. Even patrolling intentionally on the route where the applicants would see them was the direction from the top. It might be a coincidence if it’s just a couple of groups, but when the numbers reached to such an extent, the intentions of the examiner was clear for all to see.
“This is bad, I thought there would be at least four groups passing.”
To think that they would be conned so easily to return to their unit without noticing the truth. The two Lieutenants would definitely board the transport plane in Augsburg heading towards the east, and get sent back to their unit.
“So the guys from team three got it right?”
Team three betted on all the applicants wiping out. Team one betted on four successes. By the way, Team two betted on half the applicants getting through, and was already eliminated. Please, come on, pass the test.
When he thought about the wine he had bet, Military Police Sergeant desperately prayed for these applicants to make the cut. He wasn’t very devout, but all he could do was pray to God now. After all, there were no devotees more sincere than a gambler.
Two days later, the Imperial Military General Staff Office, Subsidiary Building Conference Room Seven
“What do you mean V601 is just a political propaganda!?”
The young Second Lieutenant couldn’t accept it as the fact as he protest earnestly. His clenched fists were inches away from banging the desk. He rushed here because he wanted to help the western army that was in a tough fight. However… The mission given to the eastern army was just political propaganda?
Don’t joke with me, the Second Lieutenant expressed his anger with his entire body.
“Calm down, Lieutenant. I don’t want to tell you that either.”
In contrast, the Major lowered his head apologetically. That’s right, the Major was begging the Second Lieutenant for forgiveness. He was baffled by this turn of events. Even though the Major couldn’t express it well in words, he was still showing his sincerity to the Second Lieutenant with his action.
After seeing his attitude, even the enraged Second Lieutenant understood that it was useless to be angry at the Major who was in front of him.
“... You want me to just walk away quietly?”
“I am sorry. I am happy that you are full of drive. If there is another chance, do apply for it again.”
The Major’s tone sounded sympathetic. It was probably the apologetic tone that made the Second Lieutenant relax his clenched fist. After saluting perfectly, he left the room.
“... I will take my leave.”
The moment the Second Lieutenant closed the door, the figure of the Major watching him flickered and faded. At the same time, the seats concealed by Optical Decoy were revealed. The young Second Lieutenant was impassioned, but he didn’t realize that he had been observed all this while. That was the reason why the people observing him all sighed in disappointment. And those were really deep sighs.
“... It is about time we did a focus study on Optical Decoy countermeasures.”
In a corner that was just a wall just now, several officers appeared out of thin air, and one of them spat these words out as if he had eaten a pound of bitter gourd. After all, they had grown tired of watching such monotonous third rate drama for the umpteenth time.
It was really depressing to see those fools who didn’t realize they had been conned spewing such retarded words. It was only natural for them to feel annoyed.
And the gimmick behind this was really simple. Which was the hologram created to deceive others by using Optical Decoy. First, a hologram of a person was projected before the desk at the corner of the room, and using Optical decoy to disguise the sense of incongruity in the room. That was mainly changing the interior decor to hide the incongruity of the desk being placed near a corner.
By using these changes, the room was disguised so that the desk was placed closer to the middle of the wall. Which means the room was made to look narrower. The high ranking officers were standing in the excess space as they observed bitterly. The Second Lieutenant who was full of drive but didn’t achieve anything for his effort was putting on a show by himself in front of the inspectors.
The conclusion was that as a mage, before discussing common sense, he even lacked cognitive abilities. By proving his lack of cognitive ability, he splendidly advertised the fact that the eastern army was deficient in combat experience. It would be fine if it was the enemy, but there were no staff officers who would be happy that their unit’s incompetence was proven.
“It is just as I said. It is only natural to criticize them for having a narrow field of vision.”
Captain Degurechaff shrugged. Seeing her annoyed expression, the group who came from the eastern army a few days ago to protest all turned pale.
During the selection process for the elite unit, almost all the applicants from the eastern army failed, which started a storm of anger.
They received the merciless appraisal of being ‘incompetent, lazy, arrogant, brainless, retarded, lacking focus, unobservant and the worst kind of wage thief’. And the conclusion was the need to re-educate all the mages in the eastern army?
Don’t joke with me. These staff officers roared as they rushed from the eastern army to the General Staff Office to raise their strong protest. However, what was revealed before them was something they couldn’t have imagined.
“Instead of explaining, it would be faster if I showed you.”
After saying that, Captain Degurechaff recruited the officers who came to protest to be the examiners. The gimmick behind the test was simple. It was simply to test the applicants’ ability to see through the basic Optical Decoy used by the enemy.
For example, the hologram before the applicants didn’t have a solid body. And so, with a desk between them, it was possible to disguise it to a certain extent. But after watching for the whole day, even the staff officers who weren’t mages could feel the dissonance. Mainly because the hologram was only moving its mouth and pretending to speak.
By using a voice synthesizer, a voice articulated the story Captain Degurechaff made up beforehand. If they listened carefully, they would be able to tell the voice came from the side.
These gimmicks that seem like annoyances to those who know the truth tricked almost everyone. Most of the applicants followed the order to head to the airbase and got sent back to their unit directly.
The truth of the matter might result in the eastern army receiving stern warnings. No, that was already confirmed. The staff officers who came from the eastern army were being looked at with accusatory eyes by the people from the General Staff Office.
“I see. I came to see for myself as the applicants kept failing, but I get it now.”
Deputy Chief of Logistics, Brigadier General Zettois who was representing his department smiled as he stared at the group from the eastern army coldly. Just what have you lot been doing all this time? —Such accusation was implied from the look of his eyes.
Deceiving the enemy with Optical Decoy wasn’t anything new. It is written in the lesson plans that Optical Decoy was an effective way to counter the massed volley fire of the Republic army. Not just that, the Republic army often uses it on the battlefield, so countermeasures against Optical Decoy was seen as the fundamentals for Mages. Failing to pass the fundamental requirement was telling of their level of training.
“In comparison, half the veterans from the central army could see through the deception.”
“Almost all of the applicants from the eastern army failed the same test, this is a big problem.”
The high ranking officers shared their criticism. After hearing this, a staff officer tried to defend his men timidly:
“... Pardon me for asking, but instead of this being a problem with experience, isn’t this because of the difference in skill level?”
His question was implying that this only happened because Captain Degurechaff was too skilled. At the very least, the eastern army knew that mages worthy of the Silver Wing Assault Medal were rare. That’s why he asked whether this was because of the gulf in skill level instead of battle experience.
“This is a simple spell of casting an illusion with Optical Decoy. It is used in battle normally as decoys.”
However, Captain Degurechaff’s simple sentence had answered everything. Optical Decoy spells were used in live combat to deceive the enemy. The words spoken by someone who had survived massed volley fire from an enemy squadron carried a lot of weight. More importantly, half of the personnel despatched from central to the western front could see through this trick, which was an undisputable fact.
“Being turned around in circles before a non-existing examiner that was just a refraction of lights. I believe everyone can understand why I don’t want to recruit these people.”
“What are the results of the eastern army so far?”
“Out of the 29 groups of applicants, 27 of them were deceived and sent back to their unit.”
After hearing the administrative officer read out the report calmly, the inspectors who spent the entire day watching this comedy couldn’t help but sigh.
The Operations Staff even started holding their head in agony while seriously contemplating the revamp of the regional armies’ training program. A unit that was so easily deceived made them seriously doubt if they could fight a war.
“Even if you add in the 5 out of 10 groups from the central army that passed, that would just be one squadron.”
For the first test that was done in pairs, only a dozen qualified. Even if they were all selected, that would only be enough for a squadron. Just 25% of the target.
“We can only place our hopes on the remaining 65 groups from the eastern and southern army.”
His words were slightly hopeful, but his eyes were saying that it would be impossible.
“Going by the ratio, it would be useless.”
He then made the conclusion that refuted the overly optimistic prediction. The others who were listening arrived at the same conclusion. After giving up on defending their position, the officers from the east all hung their heads. They didn’t want their unit to be branded as incompetent, but reality was cruel. The mages from the eastern army would probably be relegated to the sidelines for a while.
“... How about lowering the entry standards?”
“We would need to replace the current standards, and let them go through the test after retraining. It would waste a lot of time on rostering the unit.”
The officers from the Logistics Department looked disappointed, and started discussing what needed to be done during the re-selection. Are you guys just messing around during training — Many pairs of eyes glared at the staff officers with such a thought in mind. After all, lowering the standards would definitely increase the time to set up the unit.
The most troubling thing was how unbelievably long the training for the units would take. Those who weren’t worried about this would have to be considered as special. A veteran getting used to the unit was completely different from training a recruit from the fundamentals. If the ability of the members differ too widely, the weaker ones would just get in the way, so the unit had to try adhering to the same standards.
Which means, if Captain Degurechaff wants to use the selected squadron to lay the foundation of her unit, it would take a very long time.
“How long specifically?”
“I would need about a month.”
Ironically, the thing that saved the eastern army group from the stinging atmosphere was these words from Captain Degurechaff.
Everyone couldn’t help focusing their attention to her after she stated the timeline of one month, making them forget about the matter regarding the eastern army. Selection and training would normally take a very long time.
However, Captain Degurechaff had stated this without missing a single beat in front of the high ranking officers.
It means that in just one month, she would be able to turn these incompetent troops into serviceable soldiers.
If a normal Captain had said such a thing, they would just think he was boasting or was simply an idiot. After all, training the recruits would normally take two years. Even if the members were Mages with previous experience, forming a wing within a month was highly doubtful.
The words ‘impossible’, ‘it can’t be done’ and ‘no chance’ were on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
But Captain Degurechaff had an air about her that disregards all doubts. I will train them for you to see. If this wasn’t backed up by her proven capabilities, it would be right to say her confidence was within the realm of arrogance.
The high ranking officers were all old enough to be the Captain’s grandfather, but were suppressed by her aura. Her sense of presence and intimidation made them forget that they need to take the eastern army to task.
“Then it would be fine. It’s fine to be a bit more forceful, retrain them properly.”
He was probably the only one who expected such a situation. Brigadier General Zettois who was the Deputy Chief of Logistics grinned, he was granting Tanya permission to do what she needs as long as no one dies.
Captain Degurechaff answered with a grin similar to her superior. Like a vampire who saw its prey. The smile was closer in essence to a kitten playing with its prey.
“Send the reports to the Training Department. Let them overhaul the training regime of the southern and eastern army.”
“And make sure it’s done flawlessly.” The Brigadier General added on, as if he just thought about it. He had no intentions of escalating the preparedness of the regional army to the higher ups. Instead, he was interested in thoroughly retraining the army.
“It would be worrying if this carries on. This will be the common issue for combat training from now on.”
Imperial Region Alpine Mountains Zugspitze Training Grounds
“O Lord, please grant me the strength to guide these lost sheeps.”
Altitude 8000 feet. At a height that went beyond the common sense of Aerial Mages, the voice echoing out sounded really sincere. Those who had a rebellious spirit were already beaten down. Right now, we were as docile as lambs, pushing our bodies that were on the verge of death to fly in the air. No, the truth was, we were forced to fly. My lungs craved for oxygen, whizzing as if I was asthmatic to suck in more air. Even though her consciousness was wavering, Visha still managed to control her Operation Orb. If her sense of time wasn’t too affected by her faltering mind, it happened about 5 days ago.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I will give you a choice. Shoot me down or enjoy this training.”
Just when we were exhausted and sleeping like corpses. Compared to our times in the Rhines, there were beds here, so it seems that Captain Degurechaff had a gentle side too… And yet as soon as I had let my guard down and fallen asleep, I was startled wide awake after the entire dormitory and I was blown away by magic bombardments. I grabbed my Operation Orb and shovel, and deployed my Protective Barrier. As we crawled out from the debris, what we saw was the brave smile of Captain Degurechaff. Seeing the face I had gotten used to at the Rhines frontlines was bad for the heart, it was worse than any of Erya’s pranks.
The rifle with a bayonet attached made her looked like a vampire who was overjoyed by the prospect of hunting humans. The blade that was polished to a shine was waiting expectantly for mages to lose their guard before it. Ignoring the darkness of the night, it reflected the bright moonlight. The Operation Orb hanging on her chest was filled with mana, not making any effort to hide her intention to attack if anyone showed an opening.
“Listen up, for the next one week, all of you will be undergoing battlefield combat movement training in zone B13.”
On the map she prepared without us noticing, three spots were marked. According to the gist of the training content, we need to set off right away and move with full speed to the first checkpoint. The time limit was 48 hours.
All means were permitted, and the key point was to not fall out. Marching were the basics of a unit, and this was strictly taught in Cadet School too. But could you please remove the condition that artillery would be called in together with magical bombardment if any mana was detected?
Concealing the mana while on the march was an incredibly difficult task. Even Visha who accumulated plenty of experience in the Rhines Frontlines was no exception. Most importantly, they were blown away together with the dormitory. Their only possessions were the tools they successfully protected when they deployed their protection barrier. Even water was scarce. Going on a non-magic assisted march in such a condition? Fighting a battle in real life would be easier — It made them want to cry.
However, after enduring extreme hardship and arriving at the second checkpoint, they received the order to engage in Optical warfare. The training content had been changed because the artillery unit was bored.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am really happy to see that no one has dropped out.”
The moment we saw the Captain showing her rare smile, everyone felt a chill down their spine. That smile meant that something more terrible would be unveiled, and Visha who understood this couldn’t help lamenting God — This was too much.
That smile seemed to be saying ‘oh, so that wasn’t tough enough? I didn’t think it would be this easy’. If not, it was saying ‘seems like I can be harsher’... God, I hate you.
No matter how much I hated it, I understand that the Captain was more than happy to accommodate us by raising the training difficulty level.
“Thanks to everyone’s excellent performance, the artillery saved a lot of ammunition.”
What would happen next goes without saying. The Captain was all smiles as she kicked all the members, including Visha, into the abyss of despair.
“Everyone, it is bad manners to ostracize your comrades. Let’s have some fun together with the artillery unit.”
After saying that, Captain Degurechaff casted a spell and sent out a heat wave. From the direction she was aiming, a training round flew this way. An artillery unit was shelling the check point.
Artillery bombardment onto a fixed location. It was a simple bombardment, and it would be strange if it doesn’t hit. She actually said ‘Well done ladies and gentlemen, you have impressed me’?
“What impressive techniques. Even though this is just training, you have done well in evading the magic observation of the artillery. That was splendid, but it would be terrible if you couldn’t block artillery attacks. Taking precautions against such possibility is training too. So for the combined training with the artillery, let’s conduct a base defence training. Consider this a defensive battle. Starting now, you lot have 15 minutes to fortify your base. Don’t worry, their stocks for training rounds are really low. They will probably run out after 36 hours of continuous fire.”
With her cutish yet hateful voice, she announced the next itinerary of the field trip cheerfully. In the next instant, Visha charged over in tears to construct the base. She never dreamt that she would ever have a day when she thought how reliable her shovel was.
“Alright, ladies and Gentlemen, if you don’t want to die, then engage the incoming rounds. If anyone deviates from the assigned route, I will conduct magical bombardment.”
Ah, that would be lethal.Thinking back, I recall there were low-powered shells mixed in to ‘wake us up’, so this wasn’t a surprise. After all, she was Captain Degurechaff. She would definitely keep her word. If we don’t want to die — there was no falsehood behind this.
The artillery fired nonstop. Even though I prepared myself mentally, I couldn’t stop my tears from rolling when I thought about what we would be facing next.
“Lord, please protect your servant who exalts you. Please show me your might and glory.”
Aside from the Captain who deployed a majestic protection barrier, everyone else charged forth to intercept the falling shells. From this range, there were several minutes before the rounds hit. They could observe and shoot down the rounds with trajectory that could hit. It sounds simple, but saps an astonishing amount of energy.
There were 72 trainees. However, even with two Wings of people, we were not proficient in defending and in building an interception network against the bombardment directed by forward observers. Most importantly, if we fail to intercept the rounds successfully, it would deal heavy damage.
The bombardment was like the continuous effort of all the artillery in the region. If we hadn’t thought of the idea of putting in the effort to identify the live rounds mixed in with the training rounds, they would definitely be wiped out. Also, the bombardment carried on sporadically into the wee hours of the night, pushing the trainees to exhaustion and straining their eyes, making everyone feel despair. Most importantly, if your partner messed up, both of you would be blown away together.
Even so, if anyone fortified only their own defences, someone else would be blown away. They could only trust their comrades, anyone who couldn’t do that would be ‘eliminated’ mercilessly. It was just like the frontlines, and we were pushed to our limits. In the end, I didn’t sleep properly at all during the defence of the base.
Finally, 36 hours later, the Captain pointed to the radio sheepishly:
“Ladies and gentlemen, the artillery unit says they still have ammunition left.”
Immediately after that, the familiar sound screaming through the air drew near once more. The artillery renewed their shelling. And it was right after everyone got relaxed. It shook the mages who were barely holding on. Turning and running for one’s life might be natural instinct, but there was hell to pay.
The trainees once again witness the Captain honoring her words with pleasure. In the end, even though the bombardment was going to end, the number of cadets had fallen to 60 odds. Right after this, they headed straight for the third checkpoint. There wasn’t any complicated conditions this time, they just needed to advance forward. Aside from the time limit, there were no further explanations. In other words, virtually no intelligence was provided.
“Pay attention, ladies and gentlemen, you are on a march.”
Visha who only received this instruction braced herself for the worse, anything could happen and she must never let her guard down; she advanced timidly. Even though squadrons armed with explosives would fly by at low altitude to search, it would be fine if they don’t find her; Even though she caught sight of Doberman dogs raised by the army, she just needed to avoid them. Every situation could be avoided.
But she maintained her vigilance, thinking there must be a trick behind this. But as if she was being mocked, they didn’t run into any mean spirited traps. They were really just marching along. It goes without saying that the time limit could only be kept if the exhausted mages proceeded at full speed.
After glancing at Visha and the others who were completely exhausted, she waited with a smile at the third checkpoint. She said: ”Well done, let’s begin anti-interrogation training.”
The group that made it through anti-interrogation training while exhausted were thrown directly into the alps. That was a dream they didn’t want to remember. As Visha groaned terribly in a way a teenage girl shouldn’t as she struggled on the verge of death, the Captain marched alongside her nonchalantly. She was either the apostle of the devil or a herald of God.
Ah, there was actually an ally I fear more than the enemy. On top of that, the Captain had no humanity at all. I can bet my beating heart on it, a few of us saw the Captain sending someone who fainted during training flying with a kick, and when we realized it, that person was already despatched back to his unit. I had certainly peeked into the abyss of death.
On this Alpine mountains 7,000 feet above sea level, I was caught in an avalanche, unable to move as I lay prone on the ground as I had fractured my leg. But I definitely saw it. Even if I tell my comrades about it, they would never believe me.
“Imbecile. How does it feel to be unable to avoid an avalanche, and hold your teammates back?”
The Captain showered me with vulgarities, but I know. I saw it. The Captain charged into the avalanche to save me.
Even though my comrades told me that after I was terribly injured, and was thrown like a rag to him by the Captain, didn’t believe me either. The Captain was unquestionably a good commander. However, I can’t really figure her out as a fellow human being. The truth was, everyone was cursing out our superior officer with a laugh.
What crazy comrades. Maybe they were affected by the Captain’s insanity too. Despite that, I received a revelation from God, asking me to save the Empire, and saying — You are the elite troops led by the apostle that protects the realm of God.
What an insane world. If the Captain was really an apostle of God, then only devils would exist in this world. No, I should say she was the reason. The gods in mythical worlds would show us their existence through real world phenomenons. Church doctrines were set for the sake of God, not determined by a select few for the sake of man.
Even so, there was no telling what you would encounter in life.
It was impossible to train elites in just one month. Yes, this was simply common sense.
But since I gave my word in front of the group of high ranking officers, it was too late to regret it now.
The truth was, if I failed, it would be a big problem. And it would hurt my resume, with my punishment being a frontline deployment. But if I guide the conclusion so that the issue lies with the quality of this bunch, that they couldn’t be nurtured even by Captain Degurechaff, the meaning would change completely.
Since the higher ups had the tendency of hiding their dirty laundry, they might even call off the entire thing. On top of that, Tanya received permission from the Logistics Department to use any means necessary. And so, if she pushed the trainees to their very limit, they would definitely give up.
And so, she just needed to give them unbearable training, and let them earn the evaluation of being gutless people who didn’t have the will to follow things through to the end, and everything would be resolved.
I would escape unscathed. So I decided to employ the training methods used all over the world throughout human history. The American style menu was as follows: changing underwater acclimation training to altitude acclimation training. This would literally force them to endure to the limit of their willpower.
After completing this training, what follows next would be the infamous hell week. They would sleep for a total of 4 hours in four days. It was said that this could push people to the absolute limit, a training that could expose the cruelty of human nature. Even though mages could segmentate their mind, there was a limit to that. If I could expose the fact that they were morons who value themselves over their comrades, I could eliminate them with the reason that they were not fit to be Imperial soldiers.
And of course, I don’t want to torment my subordinates. I wasn’t that retarded to feel elation from meaningless violence. I would add in appropriate reasons, and make everything legitimate. I didn’t want to use violence meaninglessly.
That’s why I welcome withdrawals anytime; or rather, I really hope they could hurry up and withdraw. Set me free from this heavy responsibility earlier. So withdraw quickly, come on. Anyway, after enduring hell week, that would be followed by one week of SERE. A demanding training in anti-interrogation and wilderness survival.
If I could push them to the edge of insanity, they probably would withdraw immediately. If they still don’t give up, I have the perfect plan for these war crazed bastards. They must be completely exhausted after going through SERE right after hell week.
This would be followed by a long distance marching exercise through the alpine mountains while prohibiting magic use.
And of course, sleeping and resting time would be cut down as much as possible. Conditions would follow the standard of the harshest battle on record. For example, there would only be half a bottle of water and no food provided. Trainees would be disqualified if they use their Operation Orb. The only thing they could use was a knife that was to be shared between a pair of trainees.
It would be easier to describe it to have a harsher, tighter schedule than the Staff Officer tour. They would need to cross the treacherous terrains of the alps in one week, and would be disqualified on the spot if they fail to do so. Doing so in one week would normally be a very trying task, and that was for someone who was healthy and challenging it with all their equipment.
If anyone accomplished that under such terrible conditions, then I was definitely cursed. Simply put, who ever makes a mistake here would be mercilessly eliminated. By following this process, I will definitely receive appropriate results.
Don’t worry, I know that accidents might happen. But I have prepared a perfect insurance.
To make this clear, this was a plan I absolutely don’t want to use. I never asked for this. But there was no other surer way than this.
So I had no choice but to prepare this insurance reluctantly.
That was to use the newly developed mass production prototype developed by that madman in Elinium as standard equipment. I heard that walking disaster — Chief Engineer Adelaide von Schugel was developing the Elinium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb.
It was very possible that thing might develop in a way such that the higher ups would get that damn Chief Engineer to take responsibility.
Yes, there was a period of time where I thought so too. So why did things turn out this way? Was my life really cursed? Or could humanity truly hold infinite potential? Perhaps it is also important to having to truly believe in it.
Yet, when looking back. One must also eliminate all optimism. Learn from your past mistakes.
When remembering. Most of your failures stemmed from yourself. There were many instances when things were beyond salvaging after realizing.
By the time I realized, I was already standing on a podium — Just as I was about to complain of having low blood pressure, and that it was hard to get up in the morning, a wave of overwhelming sleepiness assaulted my consciousness once more. But through bits and pieces, my ears caught parts of what my mouth was uttering.
Today, all of you shall graduate from being worthless maggots. From this day, you are Mages of the Imperial Army.
With the bonds of battle binding you, until the day you die, no matter where you are, the army shall be your brethrens, your comrades.
You will be heading into the battlefield in the future. And some won’t be able to return. Remember that.
All Imperial soldiers will die one day. We exist for the sake of death, but the Empire will live forever. And so — all of you will live on forever! The Empire looks forward to everyone fighting for it for eternity.
… How did I end up saying these words?
I had no recollection of uttering them, but memories of these words still lingered in my mind. What happened before and after that speech was fuzzy. Regrettably, perhaps it was due to the activation of the Elinum Type 95 during training, but it had once more made me realize that I had lost a part of my memory. This was why I hated that thing.
Even though I was supposed to be in my growth period, I wasn’t growing any taller and had to be mindful when making custom uniforms. My height was something I had began to grow in concern of. Especially when surrounded by soldiers with bulky builds or female Mages who looked like seasoned veterans (a minority).
Sigh, for white collar desk jockey who also requires stamina, this was a cause for concern. Healthy work results starts from a healthy body. Even though I pay attention to my diet, I fail to see any changes. It was strange to think that eating K-brot would help me grow taller though.
Anyway, as a person, I did not want to waste too much effort, I just need to grow taller. And so, I went to enquire the military doctor why I wasn’t growing even though I should be in my growing period. That’s right, when I realized it, I had already asked the doctor: “What should I do to get bigger?”
The doctor said my growth was slow because of my imbalance in muscle training. I just need to sleep and eat adequately, and I would get bigger naturally. Her bemused look puzzled me for a while.
After thinking it through, I felt the urge to grab my rifle and shoot out my skull to erase this memory.
As a woman, the military doctor had a curvy body. May disaster befall the General Staff Office that was concerned about such things. She just had to show me concern as a member of the same gender? Worse of all, this was all because I was accused of refuting religious faith due to being a man one-sidedly back then. I didn’t think it was possible, but would I be brainwashed and want to grow up as a woman?
No, it was dangerous to reach a decision on circumstantial evidence alone. Even though it was true that the Elinum Type 95 had left me many unpleasant memories, my mind was only controlled when it was activated.
From the records that I could verify, I couldn’t find any trace of my mind being manipulated. However, I had a feeling that things were heading in a regrettable direction. Damn devil, you, the lot of you, how dare you toy with the persona of someone who loves freedom so much?
… When I realized it, there was a rosary I had no recollection of on my neck.
The Virgin Mary? Yes, I often see that in the church. I know very well. I see the sisters handing these rosaries out. That’s right, I simply watch from the side.
… Stop running and face reality.
Why didn’t I realize I was wearing a rosary? No, before that, when did I start losing my memories?
This was terrible. I couldn’t trust my memories anymore. Even if this was given by the church, it felt quite aged. If I had to say, it had the historical style and aura about it.
To make it clearer, if it was found in the right era, it might be safekept by the church as a holy relic. If possible, I would like to find the chance to throw it far away in a secluded place; if it could be done, I would want to donate it somewhere right now, and dump it away.
…To wear such a thing on my neck, I must be terribly ill.
I remember conducting training, that was true. I wanted to use the selection process as an excuse to fail everyone, everything so far was fine. My memories for the past month were clear. But, I felt that… something wasn’t right.
“… I shouldn’t have activated it at 8,000 feet."
That’s right, activating the Elinium Type 95 unconsciously in order to increase altitude was a crucial mistake. Perhaps it is time to consider the possibility that the mental corruption was cumulative. Apart from temporarily having my speech manipulated, the accumulated corruption appears to continue to build up similar to that of mineral poisoning.
“Should I seek medical examination for the corruption of the mind? What reason should I use?”
The stringent check up organization was researching how magic related technology was affecting one’s mind. I just need to trust the skills of that bunch, they once announced in an anti-interrogation research conference that they developed the technology that could see through irregularity in thoughts. Maybe I should accept an examination while I could still think straight.
However, the reason would be a problem. If I was thought of as a commander with mental problems, it might affect my future life, including my resume. In the Empire where the concept of gender equality was still underdeveloped, women in management weren’t rare, but they would naturally require stringent quality. If I want to become a white collar worker, it wouldn’t be good to have the reputation of having some mental problems.
A rhythmic knocking broke my action of grabbing my head in agony. The one who entered the room was Visha, who was gradually getting the hang of her duties as an adjutant. I could smell trouble from the expression on her face. I cleared away all thoughts that could wait. I switched my mind into work mode.
“Captain, there’s a letter from the General Staff Office."
“Thank you. Do I need to reply immediately?"
If there was a troubling matter, Tanya wanted as much time as possible to deal with it.
“Yes Mdm, there’s an envoy waiting outside."
Captain Degurechaff glanced at her, picked up a pen immediately and read the proffered letter.
It was sent from the General Staff Office. The main content was ‘finish the rostering of your unit, and head to the base in the southeastern military zone for deployment immediately. Top priority.’
“Captain Degurechaff? What’s the matter?"
“…Too soon. This is too soon. Lieutenant, help me call the General Staff Office."
She instructed the confused Second Lieutenant to call the General Staff Office. However, at this moment, that person appeared before her as if he had predicted such an action. No, he definitely expected this. That was why a high ranking staff officer was despatched from the General Staff Office to meet a mere Captain.
“No, you don’t need to make that call, Major Degurechaff."
“Eh, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen. You came here personally?"
It was her friend, Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen. A kind soldier with common sense, who tried his best to avoid sending children onto the battlefield.
“That’s right, congratulations on your promotion, Major. I am here as an envoy. You must have many questions for me."
The Lieutenant Colonel conveyed the notification as if he was performing routine business. She didn’t mind the news of her promotion, but it smelled like trouble. And going out of their way in sending a high ranked staff officer from the General Staff Office to hand the promotion papers for a mere Wing commander didn’t make sense.
“… Thank you for your concern, Lieutenant Colonel. Please leave us, Lieutenant."
“Yes Mdm, allow me to take my leave."
She immediately dismissed all other parties, including her adjutant, creating as much as a secured space as possible, so both parties could proceed to the main agenda. Regarding my promotion. I could sense subtly that this would involve the Wing as a whole. In other words, the Wing would need to be ready for live combat. Tanya wondered if she could use the excuse of inadequate training and setting up the organization to buy more time.
“Very well, Lieutenant Colonel Sir, may I ask what this is all about?"
Deploying in the southeastern base was originally scheduled to be done after the preliminary matters for the formation of the unit had been done. After all, there was a possibility that they would be deployed to the north or west according to how the war goes. But the order was to report to the southeastern base immediately.
Conventionally, a newly rostered unit would be given half a year to train. It was too strange to consider the unit battle ready so early.
“The numbers are now 48. The higher ups feel that the rostering is completed with this.”
“That’s right, the rostering is done, but the unit is not ready.”
Amateurs might misunderstand easily, but completing the rostering didn’t mean the unit was ready. If they were to be utilized as a combat force, it would take some time to completely fine tune the command structure and build up cooperative relationships. If not, it would just be a unit in numbers. Politician might not understand, but the General Staff Office whose job was to set up such units should understand this perfectly.
That was the scary part. She had to assume that something bad enough has happened, that they had no choice but to issue such an unreasonable order despite knowing this.
“There are no problems with personnel and equipment. The General Staff Office holds you in high regards."
“Please do not joke with me, Lieutenant Colonel. Right now, we haven’t mastered team exercises, practical field training, nor tied down the command structures. We are no different from a training Wing right now.”
“Which means, you think your unit would be limited operational wise?”
“Of course. Please give me half a year for training.”
Forming an organization would naturally take time. Letting the unit members know each other and build up adequate relationships would take at least half a year. Even if they ignore this fact, repeated training was necessary to let the members learn to fight together.
“The brass believes that if it is you who completed preliminary training in just a month, heading to the front line tomorrow to fight wouldn’t be a problem.”
“Are they speaking in jest? A newly formed unit is nowhere near the same level as a battle ready unit.”
On paper, the two units that had been rostered might look the same. But if one of the two was a freshly rostered unit, while the other one had been through live combat, and had received adequate resupply and rest, the difference was obvious. Time was absolutely needed to plan adequate training and tie down the system within the group.
“Even if training starts right after the unit is founded, some time would still need to be set aside to work out the kinks after the preliminary training. That is common sense.”
“Is it possible to commit them into battle right after founding the unit? The higher ups believe that if it is you, it would be possible.”
The answer she was given couldn’t be considered a reason at all.
“If they wish to, they could deploy me as a sole combatant. That is possible, but would that be fine?”
Because she knew they wouldn’t send her out alone, that’s why she said that. After all, it was impossible to transfer the commander of a unit being rostered away, that’s why Tanya was so forceful.
“But if they want me to utilize the strength of a Wing, that would be a completely different matter.”
Even so, it is ridiculous to expect fresh recruits to take on the job of battle ready tasks. It was like admitting they couldn’t spare the effort to train new recruits, there was also no veterans left on the battlefield. In other words; this was a symptom of a terminal disease.
“…Major, the Imperial Army can’t spare the effort anymore."
“…To the extent that we need to commit a Mage Wing that has yet to finish their training into battle?”
“As all the Mages in the continental army are congregated in the west, the war in the north is becoming dangerous.”
Currently, the Mages are all gathered in the west. This was because most of the Mages from the continental army went there. However, the regional armies still have a large number of Mages on hand. As the Federation was already on the verge of death, the northern army was more than enough to handle them.
That was exactly why I want to know the reason in deploying a unit so urgently to the southeast which was far from the frontlines. The act of forcefully speeding up the schedule and deploying the unit in the rear, was a foolish act akin to ruining wine that would increase in value if left alone. Or neglecting care on cheese.
“That is why I don’t understand. Why is it the southeast?”
If the situation in the north requires reinforcement, she could still understand that they lacked manpower. It would be an easily understood reason. But sending a unit in the complete opposite direction from the frontlines despite lacking manpower made her really suspicious.
“This is the decision of the General Staff Office."
“Am I permitted to enquire about it?”
“It would violate military secrets. Please do your best in the southeastern base to build up your unit’s combat readiness, until you receive further orders.”
He didn’t explain the politics behind it. In that case, she had to deduce it by herself, which would probably be a waste of time. In the end, she just had to pay attention as there was a reason why the General Staff Office despatched a unit directly under their purview to the southeast.
“If the purpose is to be battle ready, please permit me to lead a fully trained unit.”
“The training level of your Wing should be above standard in terms of readiness.”
“Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, I am obligated to raise an appeal. It would be too rash to deploy the unit now. This would hinder our preparation, and result in the Wing failing to operate at its full potential.”
A probing question. Any normal Wing Commander would give fair warning that the time given for training a unit was too little.
“I have noted your warning. But it would be best for you to consider that things won’t change.”
What she got was the formal reply from Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen. If his strong tone was representative of the will of the higher ups, that means this was an unshakable fixed decision.
“I understand, Sir.”
So she could only give up. However, this level of instructions could be dealt with by using official documents and orders. Why did they went out of their way and sent someone here? This question still lingered in her heart. The answer to this question was shown in the nonchalant chatter by Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen who was acting as if he had completed his duty as an envoy, and had started tidying his bags.
“Oh right, as a senior in life, let me give you an advice. Since you get to be deployed in the southeast, want to try learning Dacian?”
“There are no downsides to learning languages. Especially for us soldiers.”
Normally speaking, what he said was normal. But why ask her to learn Dacian specifically? There were two possibilities. Either Dacia would become an ally or an enemy. If they were allies, there would be a need to communicate with them; if they became enemy, it would be useful in scouting for enemy intelligence.
“If I have the time, I will learn it as another skill. Thank you for the advice, Lieutenant Colonel.”
“Excellent. Let me congratulate you on your promotion again, Wing Commander Degurechaff."
CE 1924 September 24th Ransylvania Province Turao County Imperial Army field training grounds
The Wing received orders to garrison the base they were assigned. And the final stage of their inspection was several days after their orders came down.
Pressured by the Logistics Department, the inspection was forced to be held early in order to accommodate the relocation plan. As it was a unit that was formed in a short period, all the high ranking staff officers were worried about the unit’s level of training. But their worries were betrayed in a good way. After all, all the high ranking staff officers witnessed an unexpected sight, which made them dumbfounded that day.
“You dim witted fools! Stop dragging your feet and increase your altitude!”
“It’s just 8,000 feet, you imbeciles. You want me to repeat myself?”
Since just now, the radio had been broadcasting a calm and emotionless voice. It might be hard to believe, but these words all came from a girl whose voice had yet to break. Her mana was flickering ominously, showing her intention of shooting down anyone who attempted to lower their altitude.
“You want me to say it again? Very well. Then die. Die right now. The money we can save from you dying will go straight to your comrades.”
If there were any complaints, she would start magic bombardment seriously. Be it losing consciousness or mana exhaustion, lowering your altitude meant being shot down. The Mages who didn’t believe she would carry out such an exaggerated declaration would learn literally what ‘seeing is believing’ means.
“Alright, if you don’t want to die for the cause, increase your altitude."
The performance today was extraordinary too.
“Since Mages from the Republic can reach an altitude of 8,000 feet, we should aim for 10,000.”
After uttering these words, in front of the inspectors, Major Degurechaff ordered her unit to increase altitude at full speed immediately. Normally, combat beyond the altitude of 6,000 feet was considered suicidal, but she ignored that limit and set her target at 8,000 feet.
She might be eccentric, but she really was crazy when she declared that she would ‘turn the incompetent into the elite’ in one month.That wasn’t bragging. Major Degurechaff really did it. She seriously retrained the soldiers from their very core, forcefully turning them into elites.
“Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, does this meet your expectations?"
I wish to attend the review parade of the 601st rostering unit. Major Degurechaff accepted Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen’s request easily. Her attitude seemed to be saying that there wouldn’t be any problems.
No, there really weren’t any problems. At the very least, there were no deaths during training. And the Mage Wing before him was elite in terms of skill, just like she said.
He couldn’t say anything other than that. She was a genius in pushing soldiers to their limit. Forcing the troops to the very edge, literally squeezing out the last drop of their capability.
He heard the content of her training was to let the trainees experience the horrors equivalent to death, and increasing their ability drastically that way. If they were stalked by the horror of death for a whole month, it would definitely increase their abilities greatly, that was understandable. He felt sympathetic towards the soldiers who were tormented that way.
“… They don’t have any oxygen tanks, so how did they reach an altitude of 8000 feet?"
The engineering officers present were shocked from a different perspective. They might be trained, but they still reached a height of 8,000 feet nonchalantly. If it was Major Degurechaff, it wouldn’t be surprising for her to reach 12,000 feet. But a group of soldiers flying at that height had major implications.
“Oh, that’s simple.”
However, the Military Police who was explaining treated it like an after meal chatter, answering casually.
“They seemed to be deploying a refined spell to create oxygen all the time.”
Until everyone understood what that meant, the crowd was completely silent. All the time, in other words, they were casting the spell on themselves permanently.
“… You are saying they are maintaining two permanent spells?”
“Yes. I think that was the minimum standard requested of them.”
The Military Police officer wasn’t an engineer, and couldn’t feel how revolutionary this was, unlike the professionals.
But the engineering personnel from the General Staff Office were all shocked beyond words. Not only did they turn rowdy, a number of them were mumbling ‘how is that possible?’ That’s right. Casting multiple magic spells. Theoretically, this was impossible.
There were several projects focusing on just that in the Technological Research Lab, and they were successful. But an Operation Orb that could withstand the rigors of battle while casting dual permanent spells should be far from complete. Everyone was chattering about where she got those things from.
“Where did they get the Operation Orbs that could withstand such unreasonable demands?”
Even an Orb that wasn’t officially commissioned to be used by the military; he didn’t know where he got the prototype from, but her network was really well laid. Very impressive.
She was an exceptionally talented soldier. It wouldn’t be strange if any military lab requested her to test out new Orb prototypes. In actual fact, his deduction was on point.
“It’s the first batch of mass produced orbs commissioned from Elinium Lab.”
Ah, if it was that place, it was understandable. She worked in technology development at that place for a period of time after all. She probably used that connection.
Since it was a commission made to Elinum Lab which was privy to many secrets, this would not have been possible if implicit consent wasn’t given by the procurement branch from the General Staff Office, and even the Logistics Department. If not for that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Military Police started sloughing it out with Major Degurechaff right now.
“Who told you lot to make such monotonous movements!? You want to be a target board!?”
The members of the Wing struggled to fly steadily at the altitude of 8,000 feet. As if she was mocking their sluggishness, Major Degurechaff’s agility as she soared through the sky made the people sigh in admiration, saying ‘as expected of a Named’. Compared to the trainees who were as slow as a tortoise, the Major was as swift as a swallow.
“Good. Put it into practice.”
“B… Begin random evasive maneuvers! Hurry up!”
“... Unbelievable. They can perform random evasive maneuvers while deploying two permanent spells?”
The content of the performance made the Mages serving in Wings among the audience lost. Their agile movement as if they were playing hide and seek made them feel ashamed.
But in the eyes of experts, this was a series of unbelievable events. Not only did they performed with mobility that was nigh impossible with modern technology, they could withstand random evasive maneuvers on the level of fighter planes. Such an Operation Orb was a fantastical existence.
No, not just that. Several of the Mages started casting Optical Decoys in earnest to evade attacks.
“They can even deploy decoys.”
This meant the power of the Operation Orb could spare the effort to cast Optical Decoys while performing random evasive maneuvers.
From what they observed, the deployment speed and deceptiveness of the decoy were really high. There were several decoys that seemed to be moving by their own will. What amazing performance. And it had been designed for mass production, and had successful mass production to show for it.
“… The new product from Elinium Lab is better than I imagined."
This was the Orb for the next generation, that was the only thing that came to his mind. Anyone who witnessed this scene wouldn’t be able to refute that. Not only were they conducting an endurance test right now, the performance of the Orb was also amazing.
At most, the problem would be the cost. But if they decide to mass produce it officially, they could slash the price drastically.
“Get me the information from Elinium Lab.”
“Understood. I will get it done, Lieutenant Colonel Sir."
After Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen despatched his adjutant to requisition for the documents, he raised his head to watch the trails in the air. It was really exemplary aerial movement. So beautiful that it would captivate anyone watching. Were her talent and personality inversely proportionate? The fact that he was thinking this way seemed to prove how nasty his own character was, and left a bad taste in his mouth.
“This is a good chance. Show your worth to the inspectors reviewing the parade.”
“Major Degurechaff, wouldn’t that be too harsh on them?"
But when he heard the words of encouragement she was telling her unit through the radio, a question surfaced in Lehrgen’s mind. He heard that Tanya hated having her troops suffer losses. If that was so, the content of this performance was too daunting. With the objective of nurturing talents in mind, this was actually overdoing it.
“No, this much shouldn’t be a problem. Please enjoy the performance of the talent I picked after I remove their incompetence.”
But her answer deepened this question. Why? The concept of selection and rejection was the topic she made a speech on when she was in OCS. She mentioned ‘It is my duty to stop the Imperial army from being infected by the disease known as incompetence’. The way she was putting it felt more like eliminating candidates than nurturing talents.
“There still should be a limit. You achieved results, but half of the candidates still dropped out.”
“I already secured the manpower for the overstrength Wing. There shouldn’t be any problems in terms of human resource.”
“I see. I understand now, please continue. I won’t disturb you further.”
Ah, damn it. I get it now, I finally get it. Resource. That’s right, human resource. She called the soldiers human resource.
So to you, the troops were a type of resource known as human, something that could be replenished.
I see, I understood what was wrong now. That girl — Major Degurechaff, was treating people as numbers used in calculations.
Even though staff officers with extreme ideals were not rare, she was actually treating humans as resources and calculating them as such. If that was so, then her actions made sense. She was very proficient in committing resources efficiently.
“I understand. I get it now. That was definitely written by you.”
He had the impression of seeing the concept of total war and world war somewhere before. And the source was right beside him. That was why he found it familiar.
The insanity in numbers. The madness of the world. Does the fault lie with the world?
It was a bad era to be a soldier. War broke out when there was a hated person around. If that damn bastard of a God does exist, he must be in league with the devil in this era.
“Sigh, is it her who is mad, or is it this world?”
The scene before him made him feel that it was describing all this. Sigh, seeing through her true nature was such a horrifying thing. That girl was a monster.
No one knew if the sighs of the staff officers were in lament or admiration. However, an emergency report from the borders blew their worries and muttering away.
“Emergency report. An army from Dacia is invading our borders. They are heading towards Hermannstadt.”
Dacia, army and invading borders. Without the need to think further, just combining these words was enough to tell how simple and annoying the situation was. The terrible news from the borders meant war. We were going to fight a war with yet another country.
“Stop the parade! Stop! All personnels fall in immediately. I repeat, all personnels fall in immediately!”
The next moment, the roar of various commanders calling for the parade to stop echoed within the training ground.
“The 203rd Aerial Mage Wing is to stop the parade immediately, and link up with the border battalion!”
The personnel in the command post were running around in a panic, shouting into the radios and telephones in order to contact others. The sound of information being received and disseminated mixed together noisily. Everyone here abandoned the parade and sprinted at full speed, giving no regards on getting mud onto their dress uniform.
The staff officers inspecting the parade weren’t given specific combat roles, and headed for the command post they had left momentarily. Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen was one of them, and even though he was dashing amidst the commotion, he could still feel a chill.
“World War. Such a ridiculous thing…"
Will it really happen? He was about to mutter to himself.
But the one who cut off his words was Major Degurechaff who arrived at the command post a moment later.
“I’ve had enough, Lieutenant Colonel. Why must the Empire fight a war against the world?"
Tanya was slower than her subordinates because of the difference in strides. She felt frustrated by her short legs as she stomped onto the ground with her boots, and protested angrily:
“Those Darja fools, they seem really enthusiastic about teaching the Empire a lesson on behalf of the world. Quite the unexpected display of international cooperation.”
Her anxiety stemmed from the prospective of a ‘World War’. An anxiety on the scale of global warfare.
This might seem ridiculous, but Major Tanya von Degurechaff was feeling frustrated because of her crazy prediction that in the future, the Empire would have to take on the entire world.
“Very well, if it is a fight they want we will give it to them, those dumb pigs. No, I should say, I will cook you nice and well!”
… Oh god, is this… Is this situation a part of your will?
①【Von】A decoration placed inside the name of aristocrats. In modern times, new nobles (Quasi-aristocrats) would add the word von into their own name when introducing themselves. This was equivalent to the English ‘Sir’ and the French ‘De’.
②【Army Ration Bread】The new type of bread which was the pride of Germany. Also known as steel net, dried veggie and K-Brot. Kriegsbrot (which means K bread) was a member of the most unpalatable battle rations. The volume of the bread was increased by mixing potato into flour, making it a healthy and nutritious meal. Regrettably, the taste was terrible. The Empire has no shortage of potatoes, so plentiful amount of K bread were supplied to all units.
Before giving my greetings, I would first like to say one thing.
The publisher known as Enterbrain definitely has a few screws loose in their head.
The title of this series is called『War Chronicles of a Little Girl』<幼女戦記 youjo senki>. The content is filled with nothing but a bizarre mix of religion, ideology and nationalism beliefs. Despite of this, not a single soul had made any demands for revision during the review process. Just how courageous could they be?
If this was not a bad joke or one of those prankster game shows, and no misunderstandings were made then by now this work should have arrived in the hands of the readers. That’s right, the series known as『War Chronicles of a Little Girl』, if this wasn’t the end product of a mass hallucination caused by both you and I, then without a doubt it really exists.
Although I still feel confounded by how it had happened, in the end this work was able to be released without any hitch. And so, please allow me to express my gratitude to the website 「Arcadia-sama (http://www.mai-net.net/) 」for being the birth place of this work, and to the Administrator Mai-san and all of the readers who had commented and supported me along the way.
To everyone who has waited eagerly for the release of this work, I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I sincerely hope you were able to enjoy the modernized version of this heartwarming story. Please be at ease, this is Carlo Zen’s War Chronicles of a Little Girl after all! On a side note, the next whole section is dedicated to the new readers of this series, for existing readers it would be pointless to continue, it might be better to just skip reading altogether.
Now then, to the first time readers of this series, I’m pleased to meet you. I am Carlo Zen. Although it might sound strange to hear this coming from the author, but I will not lie to you. The content of this work is slightly towards “that” kind of area, please think of it carefully.
First of all, it is another one of those books which features the typical themes of Gods transgender alternate world reincarnation with a complete package of magic along with a “I’m invincible” kind of protagonist. Yes, that kind of work. Yet after having said that, the title ended up becoming『War Chronicles of a Little Girl』, something which could only have had happened due to a bad hangover or a sleepless night filled with tension. Furthermore, not a single person had said a thing to stop me, making me feel rather unease towards the future of Japan.
Not only that, the writer known as Carlo Zen is also a rather despicable kind guy to speak of. After all, he is someone who would naturally end up spouting phrases such as “why is it that stories which contains original protagonists and delves into the internal affairs and politics of a nation always ends up becoming a success?”, and if he were to be ignored, words of shout would be heard as he yells loudly atop of his head “Have you even read any relevant books in regards to developmental studies? Or know that the randomized controlled trials have recently concluded that silver bullets do not exist?” In short, he was that kind of despicable guy.
And the most helpless part of it all is him possessing a twisted personality yet all the while loving to debate. Sigh, having only said this, one should be able to conclude just how hopeless he really is! On top of all, this Carlo Zen is also the kind of guy that sneers at the beliefs of happy ending and supremacy victory <TL: basically the mentality to win no matter the cost - often seen in sports animes>, and is deeply fascinated by the types of retrograde and withdrawal battles fought within quagmire, the various end stage battles as well as the “courage and solidarity of the international community”; someone who is deeply afflicted with those kinds of sickness.
If you’re the type of reader that is fond of dreams, hope, and peace, or the type that loves happy endings and despises when protagonists are unable to win… Most likely, it would perhaps be better for you not to read this series any further.
Although having said that, I would still feel rather troubled if my books were unable to sell.
So putting things aside, to the comrades who have forsaken themselves to the lure of this series and managed to cross the unspeakable barrier, I say welcome! We sincerely welcome you with open arms!
Sifa: As expected of Carlo-sensei’s work, even his afterwords were a headache to translate >.< Also, hooray for the completion of Volume 1!
CW: Reading the afterwords makes me glad I was able to work on this project. So many things happened in this chapter, hope you caught everything. See you guys in volume 2? :p
Sky: What Sifa said.
JC: “Do you have a single fact to back that up?” — 2052
Many military terms encountered in this novel even now I’m not sure what their exact english counterpart is, some might just not exist such as 梯団teidan (although some dictionaries have it listed as echelon in English but when comparing the actual meanings they don’t quite match), others like (即応部隊sokuou butai) where I can’t tell if it should be translated as rapid reaction force or quick reaction force. Below is a list of military unit sizes and their english correspondence used in our translations. The same JP term is used for both army and aerial mage units in the LN. Hope this clears some of the confusion.