Chapter 211 – Substantial Declaration of War
The next day was cloudy. The clouds in the sky were dark and looked as if they would begin to fall at any moment.
“Hmm, it will rain in the afternoon.”
A big old man who belonged to the Felidae family said this while looking at the sky, so it was probably true. If possible, I would like to finish before it rains.
“Hohoho, this is nice.”
Archbishop Deckard was in a very good mood because of the gliding movement of the air board and the completely smooth ride.
“At my age, traveling long distances in a horse-drawn carriage is hard on my body. My hips and back ache, so it’s not easy.”
“Well, I suppose that’s true.”
With him in such a good mood in the back seat, I acted as a driver again today. The passengers are Archbishop Deckard, Sir Leonard, Isla, Melty, and Ms. Zamir. These are probably almost the best of the Liberation Army’s forces. If Sylphy had joined this group, it would have been the highest strength of the Liberation Army, without a doubt.
As soon as the sun rose, I was heading for the enemy lines accompanied by an air board with a squadron of gunners on board. This was for the so-called declaration of war before the war started. The purpose of the mission was to negotiate with the subjugation army in advance to encourage them to surrender, but in effect, it was a declaration of war.
The reason why I brought Archbishop Deckard and other emissaries with me is that my airboard has the best defense and is equipped with a loudspeaker that can be used to call out from inside the vehicle. Also, since my airboard is armed, I can join the battle in case of an emergency. I have only two light machine guns with black steel heavy barrels and machine parts pointing forward.
“I can see them.”
Isla, who was looking ahead from the back seat, muttered in my ear. I have not been able to see anything like that yet, but Isla’s eye seems to be able to see it. The only thing I can see is the smoke rising from the enemy’s camp. It seems that they have long since discovered our position thanks to the surveillance by Harpy-san and the others, so they are eating their meals with impunity.
“They seem to be taking it easy in front of us, don’t they?”
“They have no idea what we’re up to. From their point of view, we are a small force of only a few thousand in total. Even if there are some strong individuals, they think they can crush us with their numbers and tactics.”
“I suppose so. But that arrogance will only last until today.”
Ms. Zamir is quietly filled with fighting spirit. It looks like she’s about to run out carrying her meteor at any moment. I beg you, please don’t do that.
“For my part, they are just fellow citizens who don’t know the truth.”
Archbishop Deckard says so, closing his eyes and cutting a glowing cross in front of his chest to show it. Well, Archbishop Deckard must have some thoughts about the battle that is about to take place. The actuality is that the two are hostile factions, but they are the same Adol believers.
“It is going to be a tough ordeal.”
Somehow, the conversation in the vehicle was lost for a few minutes. I could now see the enemy’s position from a distance.
“Command to all vehicles. Load the first rounds and be ready to fire at any moment. The mages in the vehicle should also prepare to deploy barriers so that you can defend against enemy attacks at any time.”
“Roger that, over.”
“Then, Archbishop Deckard, prepare the call. Isla, Melty. Show Archbishop Deckard how to use the loudspeaker.”
Hearing the three people’s replies, Sir Leonard instructed the air board to advance to a position where neither arrows nor magic would reach from the enemy side and stop. The enemy camp seemed to be in an uproar at the appearance of the unfamiliar vehicle. I can see the soldiers moving hurriedly.
“I see. It is not so difficult to use, is it?”
“Hmm. If you move this protrusion this way, and this part glows, you’re ready to go. Then, if you speak normally, your voice will become many times louder and echo throughout the surroundings.”
“Oh… with this, preaching in churches and plazas will be a lot easier. Very interesting.”
“It is desirable to use it in such a peaceful way. The magic and alchemy technologies are supposed to help and enrich everyone’s life.”
“Hohoho, that’s a great saying… Well, then, let’s begin.”
After clearing his throat, Archbishop Deckard turned on the loudspeaker and began to speak.
“My name is Deckard. I am the Archbishop of Merinard. I am here with an emissary of the Liberation Army of the Merinard Kingdom, which controls the territory of the Kingdom of Merinard.”
A murmur could be heard from the enemy lines at the announcement of Archbishop Deckard’s name. They are probably wondering why the archbishop of the Adol religion appears with an emissary of a local rebel group.
“I’m Leonard of the Liberation Army of the Merinard Kingdom. For you, the Holy Kingdom Army, it would probably be more appropriate to call me Leonard of the Twin Fangs. We appeared before you this time in order to conclude a wartime agreement on the treatment of prisoners of war before engaging in battle. We request a meeting with your commander.”
Sir Leonard received a microphone from Archbishop Deckard, and as he said this, the murmur from the enemy camp grew even stronger. Apparently, Sir Leonard has a certain name value in the Holy Kingdom Army.
For a while, the enemy camp was in turmoil, but soon a group of people carrying the national flag of the Holy Kingdom and the military flag of the Holy Kingdom Army came out of the enemy camp. It seems that they are willing to talk with us.
“For the time being, it is a success. I am glad to see that the commander seems to have at least a minimum level of rationality.”
“Hohoho, that’s harsh, to say the least.”
With a laugh, Sir Leonard, Archbishop Deckard, Ms. Zamir, Melty, and Isla get off the air board. I picked up the Golem communicator as I watched them go.
“From the command vehicle to each vehicle, unload the prisoners and take them with you. Return to vehicles after handover, over.”
With the reply, the POWs were unloaded from the vehicles and followed behind Sir Leonard and the others. They are relatively high-ranked among the POWs captured in the battle the other day. They are not just a single soldier but a squad leader or a platoon leader. Of course, their wounds had been treated well, they had been fed well, and they had been treated with respect.
Eh? Mistreatment of POWs, you say? There was no way we would do such an inefficient thing. If the enemy soldiers knew that they would be mistreated and killed if captured, they would never surrender. Their morale would be boosted if they were to be killed anyway.
If they surrender, their lives are guaranteed, and even if they are taken prisoner, they will not be treated badly. Their wounds will be treated properly, and their freedom of religion will be protected. It would be more convenient for us if they spread such stories.
If the enemy knows that we treat prisoners of war with respect, they will be more likely to surrender when cornered, and there will be fewer troublesome people who would rather fight to the death than be taken prisoner.
They will also be more likely to spread the word about our horror. I didn’t go to the trouble of explaining to them about machine guns and air strikes and the like in detail, but I did spread the word that the magic barrier and the thick armor of the heavy infantry were torn apart like paper by an attack they didn’t understand and that they were wiped out, and that fighting these guys was an absolute disaster. It would be even more helpful for us if they spread such a story.
“But I’m bored.”
I’m very bored because everyone has left my vehicle and I don’t have anyone to talk to. It is impossible for my ears to listen in on the negotiations of Sir Leonard and the others at this distance. Ah, yes.
“This is Kosuke. At any rate, we have succeeded in having a meeting with the Holy Kingdom’s army. We are currently discussing the return of the prisoners of war.”
I changed the frequency on the Golem communicator and contacted Sylphy, who was standing by in Merinesburg.
Soon after, a message came in from that side.
“This is Sylphy. At any rate, it’s good to know that we didn’t have to engage without question. How are the talks going?”
“I can’t hear the talks. I should have brought along someone with a good ear.”
“Hmm, I still think I should have gone, shouldn’t I?”
“That would have been a bad idea… Well, as far as I can see, they were able to take back the POWs.”
I report back while watching the talks through the binoculars I took out of my inventory. The atmosphere doesn’t seem to be very good, although it seems to be a peaceful discussion at least. Well, yes, that’s right. Even though it is called a pre-battle discussion, it is in effect a declaration of war.
Well, it would be a good thing if some sort of agreement could be reached on the treatment of prisoners of war. And maybe a signal to admit defeat and surrender?
The discussion was over in a short time, and each of them began to leave the place. The prisoners of war seemed to have been received well, and they returned to their camp with the other side’s personnel. We had been warned that they might attack us as soon as the discussion was over, but that did not seem to be the case. We were lucky that it didn’t turn out like a machine gun suddenly bursting into flames.
“Kosuke, give me a spear, a sword, a sign, anything.”
“Yes, yes. I’ll take that as a no-brainer.”
As soon as Sir Leonard came back, he made a strange request, so I took out the same plaque from my inventory that I had put up in front of the fort that I had blown up with the Holy Kingdoms’ army and handed it to Sir Leonard. Sir Leonard had a strange look on his face when he saw that the plaque was really there, but he ferociously bared his fangs when he saw the wording on the plaque. He probably laughed.
The sign on the plaque said simply one thing: ‘If you continue on this path, we will consider it a hostile act, and we will return fire with all our might.’
This was the content. In fact, I had prepared for such an eventuality last night. I knew the negotiations would break down, and I knew that if no battle broke out on the spot, I would have to pull out of the meeting.
“As expected of Kosuke.”
Sir Leonard, who had received the plaque with these words, came back to the center of the road, sticking the plaque in the middle of the road. The other group members saw this and returned to the vehicle one after the other.
“What was the result?”
“Naturally, it broke down. The other side sneered at our request for surrender and, on the contrary, recommended that we surrender.”
“Of course, we had no intention of surrendering either, so we mutually kicked at each other’s surrender advice, and a declaration of war was successfully concluded. After that, we decided on the treatment of prisoners of war, and when we again offered to surrender, we would send a peace messenger with a white flag.”
“I see. Please report the details to Sylphy.”
I handed the golem communicator to Melty and left her to report to Sylphy. For the time being, the purpose was fulfilled, so we pulled back to Merinesburg once. After that, I’ll have the Harpies monitor the plaque, and if the enemy army crosses the line of the plaque, we’ll start engaging them.
Holy Kingdom soldiers’ POV
“They were on a strange vehicle, but that’s all. There are not many of them, and there is no reason for us to lose. This battle is going to be very boring.”
“Yes, exactly. I’ve postponed my marriage because of this expedition. I’m going to finish it quickly and go home.”