(the plot finally thickens)
Part 8:Two Years Worth of Report.
In the 『Great Square Room』 there are desks that are arranged into a square shape with numerous seats beside them. It was like a meeting room in big corporate building. There are quite a number of people sitting in that room. Yuuto and the players are sitting on one side and Mitteherz and other Guardian are standing on the other side. They are silently observing the each other.
“Thank you for coming to this place, even with the short notice.”
Yuuto is the first person that talks. This had been agreed by the other members before since he is the highest ranked guild member in here.
“It is my pleasure to fulfill my duty on your request, Lord Highness.”
Mitteherz bows his head deeply.
“Thank you Mitteherz. Now we had several questions as we just arrived at this place and still in vague about the current situation.”
“Yes Lord Highness. Feel free to ask.”
“First, do you know for what reason so that we come to this place?”
“I am terribly sorry Lord Highness. The rationale nor the motivation for Lord Highnesses descent is beyond my comprehension. I ask for Lord Highness’ forgiveness.”
“It’s fine Mitteherz. ”
‘What the meaning of this?’ (Mizuki)
‘It means we didn’t get called to this place by him?’ (Stella)
‘So, who do then?’ (Ichiko)
The members were whispering to each other.
“Do you know if there is someone whom capable to summoned us?”
“In my knowledge there are none, Lord Highness. As if a mere mortal can summon a divine being like Your Highness, the idea itself is absurd. Pardon my discourtesy Lord Highness, but why Lord Highness asks this question?”
‘What should we say?’ (Stella)
‘Should we tell the truth?’ (Kiyomi)
‘I don’t think that is a good option.’ (Yuuto)
‘Then just tell them half truth?’ (Saki)
“You see Mitteherz. We are called to this place not by our discretion, so we think that there is some outside force that guides us to this place.”
“I think this in one way or another may correlate with the Purple Fog manifestation, Lord Highness?”
‘Purple Fog? Ah, the strange fog outside?’ (Stella)
‘There are none in the game I think.’ (Mizuki)
‘Maybe this information is helpful for us.’ (Ichiko)
“Purple Fog? I had seen it outside. May you elaborate it for us?”
“Yes, Lord Highness. About more than 2 years ago, after the last Heaven Lord ascend back to the Deity Realm, there are very big earthquakes struck this land. As we never encounter this kind of earthquake before, we first thought that this is a foul disaster brought by foreign enemy or False Gods power. So....”
“Wait a moment. Mitteherz, more than 2 years ago?”
“Yes, Your Highness, it’s precisely 959 days or about 32 months ago since the earthquake happened.”
‘Wait a minute, we come here just 5 hours ago right, how could it be more than 2 years ago?’ (Stella)
‘What does this means?’ (Ichiko)
‘I’m confused...’ (Kiyomi)
Don’t worry girls.... Even I don’t know what’s going on.... Difference in time progression? Time dilatation? Different time-space axis? Some scientific mumbo-jumbo?
“Is something wrong Your Highness?”
“Nothing, feel free to continue your explanation, Mitteherz.”
“Then without warning, the Purple Fog suddenly appeared and covered the entire sky and the world outside the gate. We are immediately disconnected from the World Server and the Gate Transportation Network was also couldn’t be used. We couldn’t establish any contact the other allied Holy Lands and had been isolated since then.
The Purple Fog itself is lethal. Just touching it inflicts severe physical rotting to the hapless victims with 100% mortality rate. We lost several Gate Knights when we first met with it, for this I ask Your Highness forgiveness. Arrow couldn’t penetrate it and magic just rebound back when touching the boundary of Purple Fog.
Then when the Purple Fog finally receded and we thought that this strange phenomenon had ended, an army numbered in thousands attempted to breach the gates. Fortunately, we can easily repel them back from the wall and inflict great losses to them at the field.
But after they retreated to some distance, the Purple Fog then reappeared and once again enveloped the gate and the outside world. Since then, the Purple Fog receded several times only acting as a herald of enemy’s incursion to the walls. It is fortunate that until now our Gate Knights had been successfully prevented them to invade our land.
We think that the Purple Fog had some connection with the enemy but that is as far as the information that we could get. That is all we know about the Purple Fog Lord Highness.”
‘By foreign enemy, did he mean the other players guilds?’ (Ichiko)
‘So there are others than us’ (Stella)
‘But they are enemy right? Since they attacked us?’ (Mizuki)
“Had you ever take a prisoner and asked them for information?”
“We did several times Lord Highness. But they seem to don’t understand our language and after several days all of them died for unknown reason. Even the best medic and mage in our midst didn’t know the exact cause of death in them. We suspect horrible disease, vile curses or other malicious schemes behind their death, so we refrain from taking prisoners since then to not endangering the land.”
“That is unfortunate.”
‘NPC don’t know the other NPC language? That’s not possible. But if they are players, then since RAHO had advance internal language translator function, NPC inside the game can understand players even in multiple languages. So if this reality faithfully reproduced RAHO, the NPC should have capability to understand numerous languages easily. I need to test this later.’
‘So is it the Purple Fog fault?’ (Saki)
‘No, he did mention enemy right? They must be some connection between us and them.’ (Stella)
‘Do you think that the False Gods in the game also become real like the NPC?’ (Kiyomi)
‘Doesn’t mean that it was bad? False Gods is end game instance boss right?’ (Mizuki)
‘Are we safe?’ (Tsukimi)
‘Calm down, they said it they had been like this for 2 years right? So it is still relatively safe here.’ (Ichiko)
‘At least for now.’ (Stella)
‘How we get home now?’ (Mizuki)
The girls’ discussion become gloomy. So although Yuuto was curious about the unintelligible language, he tried to divert their attention to other topics.
“I had this question Mitteherz. How can you identify us while our current outer appearance is very different from our appearance back in the ga... I mean our appearance before?”
“Lord Highnesses appearance is only a Mortal Shell, but the divine soul’s light wavelength inside Lord Highness is still the same, so we, the One who was designated directly by the Heaven Lords and bestowed our current life and power, can always know unconsciously about Lord Highnesses true identity even if the Mortal Shell is different.”
Hmm... Yuuto nodded, just like how even if the character design is different the player is still the same person.
“So, how about the situation in this Holy Land? Please give us the brief summary.”
“Yes Your Highness”
1. External Security Report
The Gate Knights current strength is reduced to half-strength, since they had quite a lot of casualties at the invasion just several hours ago. The girls shuddered after hearing this. Because of this, Mitteherz doesn’t feel confident to be able to defend the gate in case the enemy resumed their invasion. Fortunately, now that Yuuto and co. is here, they could give their blessing to prospective candidate to become new Gate Knights and fill the empty spots.
The current Holy Land war-power potential is:
· Guardians: 12 Guardians.
· Gate Knights: 1.037 active Knights (half strength). 389 inactive/wounded Knights.
· City Guards: 290 Guards.
· Citizen Volunteer Public Safety Groups: 1.456 volunteers.
About the invasion, there are 4 large scale invasion attempts. In each invasion the enemy numbers is over 100.000. They are showering the gate and the wall with Siege Engines like trebuchets, or giant catapult launching tons of rocks, or casting large scale magic. But since the gate were made from Titan Scalebricks, the damage was minimal. It mainly used to harass the wall defender from repelling the advancing invaders. So Mitteherz and the Three Commanders forced to abandon the safety of the wall and directly confront the enemy to destroy their siege engines, destroy their rear-line supply or destroying their chain of commands, to make the enemies abandon the siege. This usually resulted in casualties on the Gate Knights since the enemy outnumbered them by several folds. Even if they can easily beat one of the enemies, it’s not the same if fighting several hundred enemies at the same time.
Yuuto nodded.... He can understand why Mitteherz choose this simple strategy.
The common Gate Knights only had DSL of 10 to 16. So they are relatively weak. Even if the enemy is weak, they could be overwhelmed by numbers since they lack good crowd control skills. So the best move for a numerically inferior side like him is to destroy enemy supply or destroy enemy ranks of command. Yuuto was quite impressed with Mitteherz.
Mitteherz, back in the game was just an NPC that serves as guild holy land managerial console. Maybe since the game become real, to explain the game Mitteherz managerial position, this reality Mitteherz become a person who have excellent managerial and organization skills. So does it mean that this new reality tries to rationalize game situation as if it was a real world situation? He needs to test this later.
There are numerous spying attempts or trespassing by unknown individuals, presumably by civilians and intelligence operatives, but they usually get scared and ran away if the Knights approached them, or they found dead several days later near the walls. Likely the same reason to the prisoners’ death that Mitteherz encountered before. So it’s not something worrying.
The enemy identity is unknown. Each invasion attempts had very different equipments and troop compositions and quality, so Mitteherz hypothesized that the each invasion is conducted by different entity or group. Based on his assessment the enemy troops mainly consist of foot soldiers (average DSL 2), cavalry (avg. DSL 3), magic cavalry (avg. DSL 4), air cavalry (avg. DSL 3), mages (avg. DSL 4), and Hero unit (avg. DSL 10) that usually act as enemy commanders.
More or less, But what worrying him now, is that there are so many hostile entities targeting this Holy Land, will he and the girls be safe in here, or will they need to participate in defense if the enemy tries to attack again? In the game, each Guild in Guild War can only send up to 200 players and 5000 NPCs to attack other guild Holy Land. But, 100.000? Yuuto can hardly picture it. It’s the same number as the pilgrims for the Summer Holy Festival (Comik*t), right? Moreover, since this is one or another is a quite real ‘reality’. The others may have reluctant to kill if the opponent is a human.
If the enemy average DSL is below 10, Yuuto think that he could handle them easily even if they are numbered over 1.000. But that was in the game, but how about in this new reality? He doesn’t know.
2. Internal Security Report
The sudden disconnection of both World Server and Gate Transport Network added with the appearance of Purple Fog, cause severe disturbance in public order. Some dishonest people use this confusion for their own gain, and some even openly cause civil disorder. So, the Castle quickly enforced Martial Law and Public Curfew, also conducting Search and Raid on suspicious gatherings or conducts. Various criminals were caught, trialed and sentenced to the mines.
After one month, the public order condition more or less restored. Public curfew lifted and martial law is relaxed. But the castle still directly controls the City Guards. The citizens also form various volunteer public safety groups that were attached to the City Guards. Although sometimes there are dissatisfactions from a fraction of citizens, no one was openly caused public disorders. It can be said the crime rate was really low, maybe even lower than Japan.
The monsters that were spawning in the forests and fields sometime threatening the general populace, but the public safety group and City Guards helped by the Gate Knights can control the situation without any major problem.
So the static background town now can have public disorders? The citizens were only a numbers and graphic frames without dialogue in the game, but Yuuto think that they also become ‘real’ now...
3. Population and Political Report
The total Neuscwanensee previous population 2 years ago was 74,346, also there are 1,376 people who come from other Holy Lands for trading and now trapped since the Transportation Gate Network stopped functioning. In the intervening 2 years, there are 4,175 births and 3,467 deaths of various causes. So the current population was about 76,430.
Based on latest census, the racial demographics are like this: 36% are Remna, 30% are Alfar and 34% are Theria. Population of productive age (15-55) is about ~30.000 or ~40%. Most of them now work under the Castle since the Castle took over all the fields, forestry, fisheries, ranches, workshops, and mines.
The current public facilities is quite sufficient, but there are plans to expand the sewer and plumbing systems to accommodate planned new city district expansion for the projected population increase. The new city district was currently housing the stranded people.
The city governance was mainly handled by a Major and his staffs that answer directly to Mitteherz. Even so, Mitteherz grant him autonomy in his duty as long as it will not detrimental for the Castle.
The Holy Land itself was managed directly by Mitteherz and castle officials, representing the Heaven Lords. There was no aristocratic class; the officials were selected by merits alone. There also Citizen Council that was composed from prominent citizens that represent the citizens interest. The Council will suggest new law or change in existing law to the Castle for approval. It can be said that currently Neuschwanensee Holy Land was a Theocracy in name and Oligarchy in fact, where Mitteherz and his staffs held all executive, legislative, and judicative power.
Mitteherz proposed that since the Heaven Lords had now descended, he wanted to return the government power to them. But Yuuto and the others were reluctant to accept it, since they had no experience in governing a country.
Although turning the Holy Land into a Democracy sounds good, but just for safe, it’s better to keep the current form of government.
So they reach a compromise, Mitteherz position was now similar to Prime Minister that handle most day to day governance task, while Yuuto and the others appoint themselves as Ducal Council, where Mitteherz will make report and asked for approval. The so called Constitutional Monarchy, but where the royalty/aristocracy still hold quite power.
On why they choose dukes and not king? Because Yuuto insist that Guild Master is King, so he that had lower guild position from him should be Duke. Also, the responsibility inherent in the title of King was too heavy for him. Although, the others who had lower guild position should had hold lower rank, but to make no one is superior to other (he remembered infamous Milham Experiment), the others also received Duchess rank. By the insistence of the others, Yuuto Duke Title changed into Archduke, as he was the leader of them. Why you girls, pushing inconvenient tasks to me..... lamented Yuuto.
So by the end of discussion, Neuschwanensee turned into an Archduchy Union, where the Ducal Council presided by Archduke Yusis zu Neuschwanensee (Saki suggest tag some noble like surname behind their name, Yuuto just go along with her, since how dare you turn down a request from
cute lol junior), ruled Neuschwanensee
with the help of Chancellor Mitteherz. While the others become Duchess,
that will help in various fields that will be determined in the future. By the
way, Kiyomi insisted that she will be the 1st Duchess for obvious
reason, no one objects (since it’s troublesome).
4. Economic Report
After that Yuuto received reports about the current economic situation. As the Holy Land is disconnected from World Server and Gate Transport Network can’t be used, the inflow and outflow of goods is stopped, so there are shortages and stagnancy of goods. Fortunately, Neuschwanensee Holy Land chief industry is agriculture, fresh water fishery and forestry with some mining at side. So there is no real danger to famine. There are enough grain, roots, pulses, vegetables, fruits, herbs, meat, and river fishes that enough to feed the whole population. The Holy Land also had some small industries workshops and smelters, so it can tend to local demand for tools and goods. But there are real shortages for things like salt, leather goods, vessel ware, spices, machineries, and magic stones.
From about 5,028 hectares of land, 2,000 hectares are arable (the others are preserved forests, lake, river, road, city, and rocky hills), and from it 1,500 hectares are turned to fields from the original 800 hectares. Using current crops yield for future predictions, they will be no problem of food sufficiency for foreseeable future. But there are plans to expand the fields further. Yuuto and the others consent with Mitteherz plan and let him proceed with it.
Also, for now, using Emergency State as the basis, the Castle had take over all aspect of economy and employs most of the citizen like a giant corporation. So, the produce from the farms, fisheries, forest, mine, and workshops is given directly to the Castle to be managed and redistributed as needed. As the gold based money become irrelevant as the outside trade came to a stop and there was hyperinflation of the goods price. To make sure that all citizens, especially the poor one can get sufficient food, at first the Castle issue coupons to the Citizen that can be exchanged for food or essential farming or housekeeping tools. Then after some time passed, the coupons itself become some sort of new money as the Citizen start to use it to conduct the limited trade between them. So the Castle turns the coupons into real money and tightly control its supply and fixed its value. As the unintended result, there is no tax and the gap between the richest and poorest citizen is quite shallow.
Yuuto didn’t really expect that Holy Land had delicate economy situation like that. At least in the game ‘Trade’ situation is only numbers and graphs in the electronic display. So, he had no real understanding about it, but it seems Ichiko shows that she had some knowledge about what Mitteherz is saying. Maybe because she was working in banking sector.
“Ichiko, do you get what Mitteherz saying?”
“In short it was like a State Directed Economy system like in a Classic Communist State, with almost no economy freedom. It can be said that Neuschwanensee has turned into a giant corporate state. Also, with fixed exchange-rate monetary system, they can stabilize the price. We lucky that there is no need to do foreign trade, since it can easily cause payment imbalance... But if we do encounter another nation then we need to... *mumbling* Should we then form tariffs.... *mumbling*”
“Hah. I don’t really understand what you saying.”
“I had degree in economics you know.”
“I let you handle it then.”
“Let me see what I can do.”
“Mitteherz, in the future you can forward the economic reports to Ichi... Do you want to be called Ichiko or Unapietra?”
“Let just keep our real name to ourselves.”
“To Unapietra. Do you understand Mitteherz?”
“Yes, Lord Highness. The reports will be forwarded to Lady Unapietra.”
When this is still a game, Yuuto never thought that managing a country would be this demanding. If this is a game the economy, security and other aspect of government will be abstracted and simplified, it will be finished after clicking one or two buttons. But the reality is not that simple.
Now that he thinking about it, isn’t the players in such game are actually a despot or autocrat? Since you know, they command every aspect of government?
That’s enough report for now. Although there is still unclear points but more or less we get the gist of the current situation.
Luckily, he can depend on his comrades? Nah... Excepting Ichiko, the rest is too young to burden this kind of responsibility.
But, let the tomorrow worries about itself, as today has enough worries of its own.
Now, it’s the time to party!
But before that, Mitteherz humbly request something to the Heaven Lords....