It seems I need to divide the Instance raid into 2 parts. Part 15 will be released next week.
A bit of warning from the author: WARNING! HORRIBLE GRAMMAR IMMINENT!
Chapter 2: The Heaven Lords in the New World
Part 14: The Raid
Day 17 of arrival. 02-09-0002. 08.25
“Terra-san, kite them towards Ciel’s direction. Ciel-san, prepare for grapeshot, Ranged Squad open fire afterward.” (Kiyomi)
“Aye aye.” (Mizuki)
“Mona-chan, don’t go too far. Pull them towards the Guardians.” (Kiyomi)
“Time for Front-Rank rotation. Squad 1 to 5, withdraw. Squad 6 to 10, forward. Healer Squad, treat any injured Knights. Magic Squads support the front rank withdraw. Squad 11 to 15, prepare for your turn and obtain Support Magic from the Support Squad.” (Kiyomi)
“Yes, Lady Highness.” (Squad Commanders)
Inside of a forest filled with misshapen lycopsid-looking trees, the Duchesses together with the Gate Knights and the Maid Guardians Corps were battling against a large horde lupine monsters.
It was Kiyomi who was giving out the orders. Surprisingly, she was the raid coordinator. However, this wasn’t that strange. After all, Kiyomi normally coordinated her summons’ attack from the rear line, so back in the game, she usually ended up coordinating the orders when raiding, as the other players were too busy battling the monsters. Having done this multiple times, she had picked up the knack of coordinating a raid. This was the first time she coordinating these many people, though.
With the Knights as the centers, they battled the monster using the classic Holy Trinity tactics: Tanks holding the enemies, Damage Dealers kills the enemies and Healers heal and support. Meanwhile, Mizuki and Saki acted as a kite and off-tank, luring the enemies away from overwhelming the center while the Guardians and Tsukimi acted as crowd control and eliminate any monster straggler. Kiyomi’s summons, the 10th Gate’s 『Grimoire Muse』 and the 13th Gate’s 『Slime Empress』, served as the flank guard that eliminate any monster that tries to flank the group. Except for Saki tendency to go too deep, there was no problem so far and the group smoothly pushed deeper into the forest.
Meanwhile, the reserve Knights, Yuuto, Chie, Stella, and Ichiko were just walking and observing the vanguard battling. Since they could just one-shot the monster in this forest, they left the battle to Kiyomi’s group and the Knights to serve as live training for them. At first, Yuuto and Ichiko were worried whether the girls would have a hard time killing the monsters. However, Stella informed them that he shouldn’t worry about it, since when they encountered monsters in the forest yesterday, the girls could battle properly. It also helped that RAHO was a game with semi-realistic monster design, so the girls had been habituated by the concept of “killing monster”, as they objectify monsters as something to be eliminated. Perhaps, it would different if the monsters were a cute thing, though. However, they still didn’t get used by the vivid sense of the wetness and the scent of the blood. Except or Saki, she always ended up bathed in blood, due to her extremely close melee battle style. Of course, if a dangerous enemy appears or large number enemies are attacking from the rear, either Chie or Stella would eliminate them immediately. But what were they doing in the middle of the forest?
After the Tinirese Village matters finished. Yuuto sent the girls back home, while he went with some of the scout Knights to the location where the Instance was located. Surely enough, it didn’t take long for Yuuto to reach it. The monster density near the Instance was high, but Yuuto just one-shot them. After all, back in the game, characters with his DSL battled divine and mythical beasts every day, so normal monster like this was as easy as turning his palm around or no sweat, so to speak. The Instance, the Deep Forest of Devouring Howls, was also very obvious. Different than the normal looking broadleaf forest, the Instance were filled with lycopsid trees and giant ferns that wouldn’t be out of place in a Devonian jungle. The trees’ leaves were glowing in a shade of red and blue, their phosphoresces was a side product from the mana absorbance.
It was like the jungle from that famous legendary CGI movie, although Yuuto couldn’t guess why they name this ancient looking forest as Devouring Howls and he saw no connection between Wolves and Lycopsids… The level visual designer must thought this look cools and didn’t consult it with the level monster designer. Anyway, Yuuto must admit, looking it from real was more amazing than just seeing it from the stereoscopic display in the headgear.
The difference between the Instance forest and the normal forest itself was also so striking, to the extent, that there was no area where both of the types of trees mixed with each other. Yuuto wanted to criticize the lack of ecotone, but it might because normal tree couldn’t grow in area high in mana and vice versa. Or perhaps lazy level design? Or perhaps some other force plays a part? The Magic and Life Science Scholar might be interested in studying this.
The air, that came from the Instance, was thick with aberrant mana, the source of monsters energy. After all, wouldn’t it be strange to answer the questions of how large amount giant shape monsters get their nourishment without ruining the ecosystems? Although monsters do and could eat to get nourishments, most of their energy were obtained from this aberrant mana, the so-called manasynthesis. This was the reason why monsters usually gathered in the dungeon and why when they went to an area deficient in aberrant mana (like near human settlements) they were really aggressive, eat a lot, weaker and exists in lesser number. Cut from aberrant mana, the monster would weaken. This was the basis of purification and holy magic.
There was also a low growling sound that intermittently accompanied by howling sounds. This was the trademark of Deep Forest of Devouring Howls. But unlike in the game, Yuuto could feel the vivid naked malice contained in that howls. Normal mortals might be assailed by primordial fear. However, that howls didn’t affect Yuuto or the scouts. After all, they are not ‘normal’ mortal.
Either way, after doing the preliminary study, Yuuto deemed the Instance to be relatively safe for the girls (he could one-shot the monsters) and that the Knights could enter the Instance without a problem. Yuuto was first worried whether NPC could enter an Instance, but it seems that his fear was unwarranted. In that case, he could bring a lot of Knights to conquer the Instance, right? After all, no need to pull punches.
Then afterward, Yuuto and the Knights returned to the Castle before dinner. There still the work to formalize the annexation and the creation of the Margraviate of Heitersheim, though, so it wasn’t like he could just rest. Of course, the actual paperwork would be left to the bureaucrats but it still needs to be checked and signed by the players as the Ducal Council.
They would also formally hold Maya’s peerage bestowing ceremony and formal annexation ceremony, later at tomorrow afternoon (3rd day of Ninth Month), so the castle staff worked all night long preparing the venues and the foods, of course. After the annexation, they still need to deal with the economic, law, and political integration. Luckily the small scale size of Neuschwanensee and the newly created Margraviate of Heitersheim eased the number of documents, as they could just impose Neuschwanensee’s existing economic and politics frame and fit it with local form.
Even so, as the Domestic Grand Administrator, Ichiko was quite having a heavy workload. Meanwhile, as the Foreign and Military Grand Administrator, Yuuto only needed to draw a scheme to incorporate local militia into existing Neuschwanensee auxiliary militia structure under a local commander and Maya’s authority. He already drew a revised military budget for it, but Ichiko had a cross-eyed when seeing that she need to do another fiscal review again. Yuuto thought perhaps he needs to do something for Ichiko, sadly he didn’t know left or right in the economy policies. Perhaps he should give her a Necklace that has SP consumption decreasing effect as a gift and some SP potions.
Then, after having their dinner (the girls particularly love the Spätzle in pseudo-udon style, by the way), the girls went to sleep early, except for Ichiko who soon went to work reviewing the documents for the annexation with Yuuto. When she went to sleep after midnight, due to the existence of the Small Sun, the ‘night’ was as bright as a brighter full moon, so Yuuto thought, he thought why doesn’t he craft potions and tools that might be needed in the Instance raid tomorrow.
At first, he wanted to use the Roareaves wolf drops to supplement his steadily depleted raw materials. However, different from the game, the wolves drops didn’t immediately appear magically like inside the game. The corpses still exist as corpses inside his inventory. He needs to butcher it to get the necessary drops like blood gems, magic stones, soul fragments, the skin, etc. Luckily the NPCs in the castles seems able to perform it, so Yuuto just left the corpses to them, it would take times until they finished, though. Fortunately, he had so many potions raw materials in the guild storage that he could use to make several lifetime worths of potions. Thank you, the me who never throw out junk drops!
Then the sky brightened as the Big Sun appeared. Luckily, Yuuto had several a couple hours sleep before breakfast and he had numerous experiences of being awake overnight to work (not that kind of work, anyway), so he wasn’t that sleepy. After they eat breakfast (another Spätzle-dominated dish) the group assembled with the Gate Knights special task force on the West Gate, 200 Gate Knights. They aren’t just normal Knights, but the Elite of Elites that was drawn from the entire 20 Regiments. The Three Golden Commanders didn’t follow the players, though. Freiheit and Lichkeit were left in command of Neuschwanensee, while Gleichheit was reinforcing the newly annexed Margraviate of Heitersheim. Even without the Commanders, there is no doubt that the Knights assembled in this place represented the strongest fighting potential of Neuschwanensee. Since the future situation might dictate it, Yuuto wanted to know how strong that fighting potential was. For that reason, the Instance was a right place to test it out.
The trip to the Instance location was uneventful. Unlike yesterday, the group didn’t encounter any monsters, perhaps since Yuuto had eradicated most of the monsters yesterday. They had a side stop in Tinirese Village to inform the details for the peerage bestowing ceremony and the formal annexation ceremony, then they have a short visit at the future site of Urlaubshaven. The work in Urlaubshaven would begin in earnest when the Engineer Corps finished constructed the new highway connecting Neuschwanensee-Tinirese-Urlaubshaven. Ichiko didn’t get amused at all, though. It means more paperwork for her side.
The girls were quite happy when they arrived at the Instance. After all, the Devonian Forest-like Instance really screamed “another world” than the normal-looking broadleaf forest they had passed until now. Perhaps because the players were expecting them, “Photograph” was something that exist in RAHO, and so it wasn’t strange that “Photography” and “Camera” also exists In Neuschwanensee. Of course different from real world, RAHO version of a camera was a magic tools that record a light reflection of an object inside a small crystal which then can be developed into a photo. The crystals was reusable, so it was like a digital camera. By the way, Yuuto had asked the engineers whether they can made the crystals record series of image, by doing so he could turn the photo camera into video camera. But the result was still not satisfactory.
While the girls were preparing themselves, Yuuto took out large carts from his inventory and created several low leveled golems to pull the carts. The carts would be filled with monsters corpse or gathered magic herbs from the forest. Yuuto had enough delicacy to not demand the girls to bring monster corpses on their inventory.
After their preparation finished, the whole group then entered the Instance proper. Aerial surveillance conducted by Kiyomi’s summon was inconclusive as the canopy was too thick to be navigated aerially. However, if their knowledge about the Instance from the game was correct, then it was clear that they need to approach the large tree in the center to pummel the Instance boss. The dense trees prevent straight movement so they could only walk the labyrinth-like forest path between the trees. They encountered several dead ends and huge monsters swarm, but so far, their incursion to the middle went well, thanks to the Twin’s tracking and mapping skills. Mizuki’s 『Scout』 job would point the right path while Tsukimi’s 『Hunter』 would detect any sign of monsters. When she detect any monsters, then the battle begin… Although perhaps it should be called a live battle training…
“Ah, there some big one approached from behind!” (Tsukimi)
“Stella-san, if you please.” (Kiyomi)
Tsukimi on the left flank contacted Kiyomi on the center using 『Telephone』 function. Kiyomi’s summon, the 1st Door’s 『Nurtama』, the floating light ball, was floating on top of the Knights group and served as Kiyomi’s 360-degree eyes. Using telepathic feedback from Nurtama, Kiyomi knew that far in the back there was a 3 meter tall Roarer Wolfman coming towards their direction with frightening speed from their rear. This Wolfman was far stronger than the Knights so it would take a lot of the Knights to deal with it. Since Kiyomi didn’t have any time or man to spare to deal with it, she turned towards Stella who walked several paces behind her with Yuuto, Ichiko, and Chie.
“Ah, alright… 『Vêlage de Glace』. It’s done.” (Stella)
With a reluctance in her tone, Stella pointed her staff towards the monster and after she spoke the activation word of her custom intermediate-Ice magic, the Wolfman was quickly covered by thin layer of frost and broke into several pieces. It was instantly killed just like that. Stella acted as if what she had done wasn’t a big deal.
“Thank you Stella-san.” (Kiyomi)
Kiyomi properly thanking Stella before returned to her duty coordinating the battle.
“Ah, it broke into pieces… Could it still be dismantled, I wonder.” (Yuuto)
“Ah… It’s still in a big piece I think, at the least, I don’t shatter them into small shards…” (Stella)
“Anyway, everyone, gather the remnants, please.” (Ichiko)
Accordingly, the rear line Knights began to collect the frozen pieces of the monster and threw them into a Stone Golem-drawn carts to join its other wolves comrade. Meanwhile, Stella continued their interrupted conversation.
“Now, what were we talking again? Ah right… Why are you agreeing with that Mayana girl proposal of annexation? I mean they belonged to a country, right? Won’t theyir country be mad to us? This could mean war, right?” (Stella)
“Well…… All peoples have the right to self-determination; by resp-…” (Yuuto)
“No quoting United Nations Charter.” (Stella)
“*sigh* Since we need a friendly local source of information.” (Yuuto)
“I don’t think that the only reason. After all, if you only need that then we can simply contact the city near the East Gate. Hmmm, Roka City, I believe.” (Ichiko)
“It’s not because it’s a request from a beautiful girl, right?” (Stella)
“What with the long pause?” (Stella)
Well, Maya wouldn’t lose to Kiyomi in the looks department, that how’s outrageous beautiful she is. Even if she wore a fast-food uniform, her selfie photo would immediately become a viral photo as “fast food goddess”. Yuuto’s long pause didn’t help, either. Goodness, he was really weak against cute girls. She just hoped this stereotypic harem-protagonist won’t meet a Boat End.
“Large monsters movement detected from the side passage.” (Tsukimi)
“Iusticia-san, Stella-san, if you please.” (Kiyomi)
Stella thoughts was interrupted as Tsukimi once again detected a large group of Roareaves Wolves and their variants monsters approached from the side passages. Although the wolves were at the level where the Knight could deal with them, it would stretch the battle front too much. In a real battle, Kiyomi would gladly commit some reserve squad to handle it, but this wasn’t a battle, so needless casualties are needles. Once again, she asked Chie and Stella to handle this.
Chie brandished her Great Blade. A short girl holding a blade much larger than herself. No matter how many Yuuto saw it, he still couldn’t let out the sense of mismatch of this sight. Meanwhile, Stella began to point her wand at the direction of the monsters.
“『Killer Slash: Headless Scream』.” (Chie)
“『Champs de Fleurs Givrées』.” (Stella)
Chie figure flickered as she ended in the middle of the wolves, stabbing her blade to the ground. Before the wolves could do anything, their head separated from their body, the lucky one had a huge gash on their neck. Blood sprouted out from the neck stump or the wound like a grotesque blood fountain. However, not a single drop of blood landed on her or her surroundings. Truly a surreal scene.
On the other side, the wolves that survived Chie’s onslaught were literally frozen stiff as their bodies impaled by numerous frozen flowers shaped ice stake that suddenly appeared on near the ground. The icy flowers were dyed red from the monster blood, creating a literal a cold and lifeless flower field. As always, Stella always opts for a showy and stylish magic.
“Thank you Stella-san.” (Kiyomi)
While Chie and Stella returned joined back with Yuuto and Ichiko, Kiyomi didn’t forget to give her thanks. The Knights rushed to collect the monster corpse and dump them on the golem carts.
“About your question. The reason is: since the relationship is unequal.” (Yuuto)
“Unequal? Ah… Because they are requested us to annex them?” (Ichiko)
“Yes. In this relationship, we are clearly the party who is on the top and so hold an advantage to them. In this situation, they would hardly do anything that could harm their standing. Instead, it was them who would do anything to obtain our support even without we asked. You won’t bite the hand that feeds you, instead you will do your best so that hand would keep patting you. If we are the one who approached the other side, we might be the one in disadvantage. The situation will be different if it was their side who approached us. So, the situation was convenient, so to speak.” (Yuuto)
“I see. From their standpoint what we offered to them was more precious than mere information.” (Ichiko)
“That’s correct. That’s why there is no reason to reject it.” (Yuuto)
“Isn’t that sounds like we are the bad guys?” (Stella)
“All is fair in love and war. Also based on their story, their current ruler is really a tyrant. We are the lesser than two evils.” (Yuuto)
“It’s still evil.” (Stella)
“No. They will be safer with us.” (Chie)
“Yeah, at the least we won’t exploit them like cattle. Right, Yusis-san?” (Ichiko)
“Yup. They will be integrated into Neuschwanensee society, after all. What your word again. Hmm, “A happy worker is a productive worker”, or something like that?” (Yuuto)
“I’m glad that you remember them.” (Ichiko)
“In any case, they will gain more if they cooperate with us rather than deceiving us. So we could expect they will become a reliable information source, as a bonus Mayana could serve as the mediator with the other country. Since she was a former noble, she had some degree of familiarity with this world aristocratic scene than us. Her information and knowledge might be useful dealing with any foreign powers. That’s why rather than Mayana the village girl, I turn her into Mayana the Marchioness, so she could stand in the spotlight of political stage.” (Yuuto)
“I see… That’s why-” (Ichiko)
‘Information is power.’ This truth never change. The more they know about this world, the more they can do something about it. That’s why obtaining Maya’s and Tinirese Village cooperation was an auspicious unexpected event.
“Large amount monster detected incoming from behind!” (Tsukimi)
“Stella-san, Iusticia-san. If you please” (Kiyomi)
The conversation got interrupted once more by Tsukimi’s warning. Using the telepathic visual feedback from Nurtama, Kiyomi could see perhaps a pack of about 100s wolves approached from the rear. Of course, this situation calls for a bigger gun.
However before either Chie or Stella could answer, Yuuto draw his blade and step forward, taking out his Adamantium-Orichalcum alloy blade 『Yobel』.
“No need. I will deal with it. 『Elemental Smith’s Art: Sword of Cloud Cleaver』.” (Yuuto)
Yuuto’s sword was enveloped by a swirling violent wind. He then made a dash towards the center of the wolves pack that began to bare their fangs and claws against him. But before they able to reach him…
“『Sword Draw: Falling Petals.』” (Yuuto)
Yuuto stopped just right in the front of the wolves made a horizontal slash at the wolves’ front rank. Just like the skill name, the wolves that were attacking at the front had their body bisected cleanly in from head to tail and fall to the ground like scattered petals. Due to 「Sword of Cloud Cleaver」 blade transformation effect, the range of the long range sword skill 「Falling Petals」 increased by several folds while lessening the attack power. However, the reduced attack power was already enough to wipe out the wolves. When the wave blade reached the wolves behind the front, they were also got bisected or wounded. As the blade wave was sufficiently weakened when it reached the wolves on the back, some of the wolves were still alive albeit incapacitated or heavily wounded. The remainder healthy wolves then broke away and escape with tails on their legs. Yuuto didn’t pursue them. He sheathed his sword and turned back to join the others, after all, his objective was only to prevent a rear attack.
“Ah. Since there still some survivor, please be careful when performing the clean ups.” (Yuuto)
“Thank you, Dear Husband. Reserve Squad eradicate any survivors and then collect their corpses.” (Kiyomi)
The Reserve Squad Knights gave the coup de grace on the monsters before throwing their bodies into the carts that slowly but sure began to be filled to their maximum capacity. Ignoring the monsters interruption as it was nothing, the conversation resumed.
“So, that’s why you appointed her as a noble.”
“Yes. After all, we can’t just appoint a random Joe and Jane as nobles. We were lucky that she appeared as the right candidate for the position. If not for her, Margraviate of Heitersheim will not even exist.”
“And I thought that you appoint her as a noble for personal reason.” (Stella)
“……Just what kind of person I am in your mind?” (Yuuto)
“You can’t blame her. Fufufu.” (Ichiko)
“*sigh*… At least, we can also use the new territory to obtain any materials that Neuschwanensee lacked, and there is no harm to obtain additional farmlands and population. After all, additional food and labor are always something welcomed by any nation, right?” (Yuuto)
“I see. It seems we obtain many benefits by accepting their proposal.” (Ichiko)
“But the demerit is a chance of a war… What will you do if they declare war on us?” (Stella)
Hearing Stella asking this, Ichiko made a gloomy expression, while Chie only cast her sight to the ground. Well, the girls certainly felt unease by the prospect of a war. After all, unlike Raiding Instance, a war means killing other humans. For someone who lived in a peaceful country, war is something far removed from them that it seems unreal. Truthfully speaking, the girls want to avoid any war if it’s possible. Of course, Yuuto was aware of this and so he had already set up several face-down cards on the table.
“About that matter… I have been working on it.” (Yuuto)
“Working on it?” (Stella)
“You mean the things you have been developing?” (Ichiko)
“Is that… those things?” (Chie)
“Those- Ah,…… I see. At the least, all that budget rerouting is worthy for something.” (Ichiko)
Well. At first, it was just Yuuto curiosity and interest that started his various projects. However, since they also could be used to augment Neuschwanensee military power if needed, Yuuto had devoted substantial amount of personnel and materials for the projects.
“In any case. We will use ‘Deterrence Theory’.” (Yuuto)
“…If you attack us, we will retaliate.” (Chie)
“Correct. I hope we would never use them in real thing, though.”(Yuuto)
Yuuto sincerely believed that for a small country like Neuschwanensee, that couldn’t scare other countries with just its meager population and only have 8 players, only a credible threat of retaliation to inflict great casualties on the attacker would be able to deter any sane country leader for attacking. After all, this was the foundation for the lack of war between modern industrialized nations.
Of course, Yuuto also knew about the evil twin of Deterrence Theory, ‘the Arms Race’. It will be a certain fact that the countries of Neuewelt and other players, if they exist, would try to imitate what Neuschwanensee had done. Considering the full extent of technology of Neuewelt was still unknown at this point of time, Yuuto didn’t have the naïve thinking that there would be no one who could reverse engineered what Neuschwanensee had created. Even so, as long as Neuschwanensee maintains the technological gap, it would be alright. Even outdated pieces of technology could be sold to entice and tame allies.
There was the risk that after seeing how dangerous Neuschwanensee could be, the neighboring countries would create an alliance to wage war against Neuschwanensee. But in this case, Neuschwanensee could also create their own alliance. The enemy of my enemies are my friend. Befriend a distant state and strike a neighboring one. Perhaps, he could modeled the new alliance using NATO as a model.
“But will they understand what those things are? It doesn’t seems like this world had ever saw those things, right?” (Stella)
“That’s why we will do a demonstration.” (Yuuto)
“I will tell everyone, the details about this in the afternoon.” (Yuuto)
Why modern country perform military parade, air shows, or naval joint exercises? Although it could be thought as a form of practice for a war, it had greater political facet of demonstrating a nation’s military prowess to pacify the public and to impress-intimidate other countries. By doing a demonstration of what Neuschwanensee capable of, not only it would serve as a warning, but also as a beacon. The other country wouldn’t be able to keep silent for long, they must make a stand. Either they will be friendly, neutral or hostile to the Archduchy Union.
For this reason, the girls’ cooperation was essential. Of course, explaining about this kind of things wasn’t something that should be done in the middle of a forest, but in a proper conference room.
“I am sorry Dear Husband, but it seems that it has passed the 15 minutes mark since the battle begin.” (Kiyomi)
Before they entered the forest, Yuuto and the others decided that if after the Knights have battled seriously for 15 minutes and yet there was still enemies remaining, then Yuuto and the others would clean them up. After all, they didn’t have the whole day just to conquer this instance. They were busy man and women.
“Oh its time already? Mel, Sia, Una-san, Stella, let’s finish the rest.” (Yuuto)
“Yes, Dear Husband” “……Alright” “I agree.” “Sigh… Fine.”
Taking out their respective equipment and turning their 「Limiter」 off, Yuuto led the girls forward towards the huge swarm of wolves and other monsters. It was suffice to say, for the next hours, no monster dared to approach them.
Next chapter: Boss battle… if it can be called as a battle.
Not much Saki this chapter… She’s the translator favorite character, though.
EXTRA UNNECESSARY STUFF BELOW