Year 20XX, Summer
It was recorded as one of the warmest days in history.
With the high level of humidity in the city coupled with temperatures of over 30 degree Celsius, it felt like it was hell. However, it was a Saturday, many people still crowded the shopping mall to shop or to just stroll around.
When the sun was high up in the sky and the temperature was reaching its highest point, a ‘Gate to the Other World’ opened up in the middle of Ginza district.
From it emerged numerous cavalry and infantry donned with armor from medieval Europe. Accompanying them were fantasy monsters such as orcs, goblins, and even giants.
They assaulted the people who happened to be there.
Regardless of age or nationality, their objective was massacring the people. Due to it being an era of peace, the people lack means of self defense and could only scream in terror as they collapsed under the attack.
The shoppers, parents, and even foreign tourists. Not one was spared from the hooves of the horses, the sharp spears of the soldiers, or the swords that brought death. The whole area was dyed black and red from pools of blood. If one were to describe the gruesome scene, it would be ‘Hell’.
This army from the other world planted a black army flag on a mountain of corpses and loudly declared without any audience that this land had been conquered by them in their own language.
It was the name of the incident to this first contact of the otherworldly people by historians.
The Prime Minister of Japan that time----Houjou Shinegori, declared in the National Congress that “the place beyond the Gate did not exist on any map.”
“What is the situation beyond the Gate? What kind of natural environments, human lifestyles and animal species would be discovered beyond the Gate? How advanced is their culture? What level is their technology at? Their religion? What kind of governmental structure do the people beyond the Gate use?”
“During that period of time, many criminals were arrested.”
“However, using the word ‘arrested’ would be displeasing. Prisoners of war were out of the expectations of the law. Based on Japan’s current law, there were no such thing as prisoners of war. According to the judiciary system, they were simply criminals that broke the law.”
“Even if Japan is accused of using such flimsy argument, they would still consider the land beyond the Gate a part of Japan.”
“As one would expect, the land beyond the Gate consisted of things that the government did not know of; such as land, human population, or even the existence of a government.”
“Even if a government exist there, without confirming the borders of the country or even establishing diplomatic relations with it, it could not be recognized as an independent country.”
At this stage, they are just“ armed terrorists who slaughtered people mercilessly.”
“Although there had been suggestions to conduct peaceful dialogue with them, the other party had to be willing to sit down with us at the negotiation table. But how do we do that? Practically speaking, there was no way to communicate with them.”
“We will make the other party meet with us in peaceful dialogue, even if we had to use brute force. We will do all we can, even if we have to grab them by their heads.”
In order to gain the favorable side in a discussion, one must know about his enemy first.
We arrested those criminals… despite the language barrier, we still managed to glean some information from them. But that alone is not enough. We need to send someone to investigate, and see with our own eyes and ears.”
“Thus, people must be sent to the other side of the Gate. However, they were not allowed to harm innocent civilians while at the same time harboring a sense of awareness against danger as they traverse the barbaric lands.”
“Also, going in unarmed would not do. Based on initial reports, there was a chance we will need to fight. In these uncharted lands, the judgement of who is friend and who is foe would be left to the on-site personnels.”
“Although some of our colleagues in the senate pointed out there was no need to venture into such a dangerous place, why not render the Gate unworkable and just demolish it once and for all. However, would it be safe to simply close it?”
“Many citizens harboured feelings of unease as to where the Gate would appear next. Who knows, it may just materialise in front of your homes or family. Also, there was also the problem of justice and compensation for the family of the victims.”
“Should a government exist beyond the Gate, Japan would not hesitate to extradite the leader and request his sincere apologies and compensation for this incident.”
“Should the other party refuse to oblige, then Japan would flex its muscles and apprehend the one responsible for the incident sentence him through our justice system. Should the one responsible hold any properties, it would all be used to compensate the family members of the victims of the Ginza incident. From the perspective of the family of victims, this was only natural.”
“Thus, the government of Japan had decided to deploy its Self-Defense Force beyond the Gate. The objectives are to investigate, apprehend, and demand compensations from the one responsible.”
Although there had been some objections from the opposition party, the decision to deploy the JSDF into the Gate proceeded without a hitch.On the other hand, the government of the United State of America had declared that it ‘will not hesitate to aid the investigation of the land beyond the Gate with its utmost strength’ while Prime Minister Houjou had replied that ‘it is currently unneeded’ and ‘will request for it should the situation calls for it’.
The Chinese government released a statement that ‘the Gate is an unnatural phenomenon’ and ‘should be investigated with joint international effort’. Declaring that although the Gate had appeared in Japan’s territory, it should not be under the control of a sole country so that it alone can reap its benefits.
“Please pardon me from being blunt, but this is way out of control. There is an unprecedented troop loss in the history of this empire. Does your Majesty have a plan to curb this problem?”
As a senator as well as a noble, Marquis Casel did not minced his words as he addressed the Emperor Molt Sol Augustus who was sitting on the throne.
With all the senators present in the hall, even if one of them speak with such disrespect towards the Emperor, he will be forgiven. They believed such attitude was required of them..
In the dim hall.
The main design theme of the senate hall was sombre, forsaking elegant decorations for sturdy and serene masonry. There were around three hundred serious looking men sitting in a circle on benches around the centre of the hall. These said men were all senators of the Empire.
Should one desire to be a senator, there were several paths. One such path was to be born in an influential family. No matter which country it is, nobles make up a small portion of the people, but it was not the same for the capital of the Empire. If one were to throw a stone out of a random window in the capital, there was a great chance that it will hit a noble.
Thus, if you desire the role of a senator, it was useless even if you were born of nobility. Only the nobles among nobles and the best of the best could be granted such position.
Does this mean that if you were not born of nobility, then you don’t have a chance to become a senator? It was not so. Should one hold the position of a minister or a position of general in the army or higher, he would have a shot at becoming a senator.
In order to process the confusing and heavy work of managing a country, the existence of bureaucracy was necessary. If one of the common people possess the talents and abilities of a senator, with some luck, hard work and achievements he may be granted the position of a senator.
There were many types of Ministers; Prime Minister,Internal Affairs, Finance, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs. The ones taking the path of working up from a minister of an army general, once they retire, they would be bestowed with a seat in the senate. Commoners were allowed to hold the position of an army general as well. Being commissioned as an officer in the army meant gaining knighthood, so it was possible for them to rise further and become a noble.
Marquis Casel was born in a Baron family that only ranked moderate in the hierarchy. It was only through his past achievements and his service as a minister that he was granted the seat of a senator. He was the hardworking type of person that tried his best to fulfill his role and responsibility. In other words, the oppressive dominant type.
Thus, he was feared for his bold attitude and sharp tongue that was said to be able to drive a grownup to tears.
"It was a grave mistake to dismiss the enemy as weak and spineless after capturing just a handful of them"
"What should have been done was to scout and investigate the opponent's power to determine their strength. Then, conclude whether it was more beneficial to take them as friends or foe." continued the Marquis.
It was not wrong to say that the situation now was dire.
This expedition had cost the empire 60 percent of its army. Although it was possible to replenish them, enormous costs and time would be needed.
With only less than half of its military power, how was the Empire going to maintain its dominant position?
In the thirty years of Emperor Molt’s reign, he had been pushing for a militaristic governance. The conflict with the neighbouring countries outside borders and the vassal states and tribes within was resolved by the intimidation of force, granting peace and stability to the empire. Before their overwhelming armies, all other nations had no choice but to submit. Those who opposed the empire had all been wiped out.
No matter how strongly the vassals felt about the empire, in the face of the powerful Empire armies, they had no other options other than concealing their displeasure.
However, now that the armies of the Empire had been reduced to less than half its strength, what actions will the vassals and foreign countries that had been enduring the oppression take?
As Marquis Casel, the leader of Liberalism group waved his toga, he asked the Emperor:
“Your Majesty! How are you planning to lead this country!?”
After Marquis Casel finished his speech, he returned to his seat. Staring at the one who criticised him, the emperor shifted his body slow and steadily, leaning forward and opened his mouth.
“Marquis… I have considered this situation. After this loss, the superiority of the Empire’s army would be weakened for a time,however, it is useless to cry over spilt milk. Would the foreign nations and our vassal states who had long hidden their detest for us, form a coup d’etat and march their army into the capital? Ahh, just thinking about that makes you lose sleep at night, correct? How heartbreaking.”
After hearing playful words of the emperor, the tense atmosphere in the hall had been shaken by the quiet laughter.
"Do you remember the Battle of Akuteku 250 years ago, my dear senators? How did our great predecessors react to the news of the army's total defeat? Did they lament their lost valour and pride, and negotiate for peace, which was as good as admitting defeat?"
"Is the memory of how the females of the Empire reacted to the situation still in your minds?"
"They said: "So what if we lost 60 thousand men?! We will birth that number in no time!"while rolling up their skirts for others to see!"
"These stories of the heroines of this country, I hope that there is nothing to be said anymore."
"Dire situations like this had been experienced by the Empire countless of times ever since its establishment. The Emperor of our Empire has always worked together with the senate and citizens as one to face these trials, that’s how the empire grew so strong."
All of what the Emperor had said the history of the Empire.
For the senators, these were all stories they were familiar with.
"There is no such thing as a sure victory in a war. Should the general take responsibility for every loss in the war, then there will be no such thing as potential commander. Should we be playing the blaming game while the enemy surrounds the Capital?”
The senators shook their head in disagreement with such a course of action.
If no one was seeking the one to blame for the loss, then the emperor will naturally be exempted from responsibility. Realising that the Emperor had evaded his responsibility without a hitch, Marquis Casel clicked his tongue in annoyance.
Thus, the emperor continued his speech.
This expedition’s army had consisted of veteran soldiers, wise and powerful mages, as well as carefully selected fierce orcs and goblins.
With sufficient supplies and intense training, coupled with an excellent commander, this was a great formation.
The general took on the duties of a commander, centurions perform the task of centurions and the rank and files did their part as well.
Despite all that, it took only seven days.
It’s been only seven days since the opening of the Gate. Counting from the day the enemy counter-attacked seriously, it took them only two days to devastate the Empire’s army.
The soldiers were either dead or taken prisoner. They could only assume the ones making it back alive would just be a handful.
Now that the Gate had been taken over by the enemy, it was impossible to close it with the enemy turtling around the Gate on the Arnus hill.
In order gain back the possession of the Gate, thousands of cavalry was committed in a charge. But that only resulted in the foot of Arnus hill being littered by the corpse of men and horses.
“Are you aware of the enemy’s weapon’s strength? It went Bang Bang Bang!!! The moment the enemy from afar made these noises, the army collapsed in a pool of blood. Never in this old one’s life have seen such powerful magic before!”
Godasen, a member of the senators as well as a mage explained the engagement with the enemies excitedly.
The unit he led were blown away like leaves in a storm, unable to even go past the feet of the hill. When he realized it, the surrounding was quiet and he was the only one who could move. All he could see were bodies of men and horses littering the blood-pooled ground.
Closing his eyes, the emperor said: “The enemies have infiltrated the land here. Although it seems that they are now building a fort around the Gate, they will one day start their real invasion. We need to face the other-worldly enemy on Arnus hill as well as the hostile vassal countries.”
“Let’s just wage a war with’em!”
A bald knight, Marquis Podawan stood up, made a respectful gesture towards the emperor and suggested the idea of war.
“If cornered, the best way to fight back is to fight back with courage. Let’s gather the troops scattered around the Empire and quell those vassal countries and rebels who dare stand against the Empire. Then, we will turn around and destroy the other-worldly people on the Arnus hill. To put it simply, attack the Gate!”
The senators only shrugged their shoulders when they heard his brutish opinion, implying that ‘if that was possible we wouldn’t need to go through this trouble’. If they gather all their remaining force, the defense and peace around the Empire would fail.
With everyone giving their own opinion, the hall soon became a scene of chaos.
Podawan replied with shocking words that by killing all the rebels and enslaving the women and children, the cities would be deserted and worries about another uprising... Although it may seem an unrealistic way to deal with the problem, but there was such cases in the history of the Empire.
Back in the days when the Empire was still a small country surrounded on all sides by enemies, when they invaded the enemy countries, the Empire enslaved the people, destroyed the cities, burn down the forests, and scattered salt in the fields to render it infertile. By rendering the area uninhabitable through scorched earth tactics, the Empire was kept safe from threats.
“Even if we can do that, how are we going to defeat the enemies at Arnus? If we use brute force, wouldn’t it just be a repeat of the Battle of Godasen?”
As the voice in hall reached his ears, Podawan gritted his teeth and responded.
“Argh…...just recruit all the troops from the vassal countries without telling them the reason. This way we can muster up an army of a hundred thousand! Even if they are weak, they can still be meat shields for us when we charge!”
“Would they be so obedient?”
“Then what reason should we use to make them muster their troops? Tell them honestly that we lost more than half of our own troops? If we do that, we would only get humiliated.”
Marquis Casel is having a headache from Marquis Podawan’s irrational and useless suggestions.
The friction between the War Faction and Peace Faction caused the whole hall to be filled with static electricity from their growing conflict.
“So whaddaya suggest we do, huh!?!?”
“You war maniac!”
The senators had lost their cool and was on the verge of communicating with their fists.
Only time was wasted. Those few still with rational minds thought fervently for a plan but couldn’t stop the squabbles in the hall.
Amidst this chaotic scene, Emperor Molt stood up from his throne.
Sensing the emperor had something to say, the arguing senators quieten down.
“Although it seems a little rough,Marquis Podawan’s words was inspiring.”
Hearing these words, Podawan bowed respectfully towards the emperor.
Before the regal Emperor, the senators calmed down and listened to what the emperor had to say.
“Now, the problem is what do we do? Do we watch helplessly as the situation become worse? That is one way, but I do not wish to do so. If not, all that’s left is war. Let’s go with the proposition made by Marquis Podawan and muster troops from all the vassal countries. Send a messenger to each country and request aid from the leaders to repel the other-worldly invaders of the Falmat Continent. An alliance army between the countries shall be formed to attack Arnus hill.
“An alliance army?”
The words of the emperor caused the senators to be in chaos.
Around 200 years ago, in order to repel the tribe of cavalry from the north from invading the Empire’s land, many countries banded together in battle. These countries who were constantly at war with each other had united under the cause of “an invading unfamiliar force is coming, there’s no time to bicker about our past conflicts”.
The kings and knights who were once enemies. stood together and fought off the invading forces. This story had been passed down as a chapter in the story of heroes to be talked about for generations to come.
“If you put it that way, then it seems to be a just cause.”
“But,it’s kind of……”
He was right. Wasn’t the Empire the one who started the invasion? The emperor twisted the roles of the two parties around. Covering up the fact that the Empire started the aggression, and telling the vassal countries to send troops under the cause of ‘repelling the other-worldly invaders’. This was shameless… And of course, no one said it out loud.
That might be so, the Empire only had to tell the vassal countries that the ‘other-worldly invaders would not stop after invading the Empire,but the whole Falmat Continent’, they would probably send reinforcement. Simply put, the truth didn’t matter, it was the way you said it that was important.
“Your-Your Highness?!?! The feet of Arnus hill would be littered with corpses?!”
In response to Marquis Casel’s words, Emperor Molt replied loudly.
“I wish for victory, but there are no certain victories in war. Thus, the fate of an alliance army is unknown. It is unfortunate should they fall. If that happens, the Empire shall lead the coalition army in battle against the invaders.”
If the surrounding nations lose their forces at the same time, the Empire’s advantage over them shall remain.
“This is thou’s plan for facing this situation. Any objections, Marquis Casel?”
The emperor made his decision.
Marquis Casel stared at the emperor with a dumbfounded expression on his face after thinking about the fates of the alliance army.
The Peace Faction could only bow their heads towards the emperor and started picking envoys to be dispatched.
The dark night sky was lit brightly by flares.
The Kodou Rino Guwaban (Alliance army) started their attack.
The bright artificial lights and flares shone on the advancing army at the feet of the hill.
In the front was heavy cavalry, ogre, goblins, giants, with other fantastical creatures right behind as they covered the entire land in their massed. They were followed by human troops holding kite shields in formation.
In the sky were people riding on some sort of birds.
Their force numbered in the hundred thousands, impossible to count.
The forward observer screamed into his radio.
“Three tenths in reserved, seven tenths attacking. Three tenths in reserved, seven tenths attacking!”
Hearing the words from the outpost, the 5th combat squad of the 502nd Division of the JSDF rushed through the trenches towards the their given post and ready their guns to covered their assigned arc of fire.
The staff officer of the JSDF put a lot of effort in organizing this expedition force. They were facing enemies with great civilization difference after all. None of the JSDF members had fought with armor-donned enemies, fantasy creatures and magic that was an even bigger unknown to them.
Thus, they looked for ideas from fantasy novels and movies.
Inside the PX(Post Exchange) there were fantasy novels,manga and even movies on JSDF members who travelled back into the Warring Era.
There were even cases of JSDF members lining up in book stores in Akihabara just to purchase fantasy-related movies and anime.
The works of Director and author whose name started with M and T were gathered in order to find inspiration.
Thus, they made a decision to muster the force of three divisions from the units across the country.
The ranks of the commanders ranged from Captains to Second lieutenants, as well as non-commissioned officers above the rank of Corporal.
The reasons explained by the Prime Minister was ‘in the unchartered land beyond the Gate, judging who is friend or foe needed to be ascertained by the on site commander. But,everybody knew it wasn’t so simple.
The equipment of the troops deployed beyond the Gate was old. Firstly, the troops were equipped with the classic Type 64 Howa rifles. Next, the army vehicles they were assigned with were Terrain Type 74 tanks.
These equipments were retired from the frontlines after it was made obsolete by newer models.
“Let’s just clear the storage space while we are at it.”
These sarcastic words were once said by a former master sergeant. Although that was one of the reason, there were more to this.
Type 64 rifles were chosen because the Type 89 assault rifle’s 5.56mm rounds couldn’t stop the heavyweight ogres. If one were to charge the enemy with bayonets, the jagged edge would be stuck to the enemies armor when used to stab them.
Thus, after considering the possibility of abandoning the equipments during an emergency retreat, it was better to use these old-school weapons who had been gathering dust in the storage compared to the newer generation of weapons which cost a fortune to produce.
Type 64’s had standing bipods, and was aimed by using iron sights. It uses normal ammunition and was classified as ‘small arms’.
Some of them propped up the 5.56mm machine guns and loaded the ammunition belt from its clip.
The sergeant majors and commanders objected vehemently to bringing Type 62 machine gun along, questioning with pale faces whether high command was intending to kill them. It was not brought into the special region as it malfunctions frequently.
Countermeasures against the bird riders were Type 87 self-propelled AA guns ,Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon AA system, M42 40mm AA guns (Duster), and other types of old-school AA weapons. Mechanical whirring noises sounded out as they aimed their sights at the birds.
Another flare lit up the dark sky as the enemies advanced towards the hill with quick steps.
They thumbed the safety switch on their rifle from ‘safe’ to ‘semi’.
From the head sets in their ear, they could hear the voice of their commander.
“Don’t panic...hold your fire…”
Although they were still not used to it, but it was still not their first time doing this.
The JSDF held their breaths and waited for the order as the enemy closed in on them.
It was the 3rd time the enemies attacked the place named by the locals as Arnus hill.
They had lost twice already, annihilated would be an adequate description.
This standard weapon in this world were swords, spears, bows and armor. Their strategy was to formed up in ranks and charged together. They will some time use flames or explosion as means of attack (not magical in nature), but their range was limited and quantity pitifully low, and wasn’t much of a threat.
Hence, no matter how many of them they was, they were no match for the JSDF who were equipped with modern age firearms
In the movie [Kagemusha] by Director Kurosawa, there was a gruesome scene where General Takeda’s cavalry had faced off General Tokugawa’s musketeers in a battlefield.
The scene in front of them was just like the movie, where numerous corpses of men and horses littered the feet of the hill.
However, the enemy still advanced, determined to recapture this hill.
The JSDF held their ground and defended Arnus hill.
This is because due to the Gate was the only way their world had access to this. They won’t allow the Gate to be taken in order to prevent the tragedy of the Ginza incident from happening again.
With one side’s motive to take back while the other side to defend, their clash of opinions caused the third battle.
Maybe they learned from their previous two attempts, they did a night raid this time. Without the shine of the moonlight, vision would be obscured by night. People were prone to be careless and off guard at night too… That was the thinking in this world, and the idea wasn’t bad too.
However, with the flare showing their every move to the enemy, their carefully laid plan had gone to waste.
In Tokyo and the rest of Japan, 24-hours stores were a given. With the night as bright as day, the muzzles of the guns and cannons served as a greeting from them to the other world.