Chapter 253 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ⑱
My subordinates loudly celebrate my victory.
“N-No way…Mizoguchi-san has…”
“Someone as powerful as Kousaka-san…in an instant…”
“T-They are this powerful, huh…?”
“C-Can we win this…?”
The humans despair over Mizoguchi’s loss.
The stage is set.
――All hands! Begin a general offensive!
My subordinates launch their attacks against the crestfallen humans.
――《Dark Night Tempest》!
“Go, go, go, go!!” I spur my subordinates on while attacking myself as well. “Make noise! Come on! Clang your shields!”
Responding to my call, Iron and Hibiki’s corps clang their shields all at once. The humans, who have fallen into a state of panic, are drawn to those sounds like moths to the light.
――Saburou, take your unit and eliminate Mizoguchi’s party members.
“At your command! Team J, time to sortie!”
Now that they’re discouraged and off-balance, we can finish them off!
Saburou’s unit assaults the high-ranking humans who watched Mizoguchi’s battle full of worry. It immediately turns into a scene from Hell, the air filled with agonizing screams. All I can hear are the screams of humans, the many humans who fall to the ground.
We’ve harvested far more from the two duels than I anticipated.
One hour after our victory in the duels.
As a result of us pushing the attack, we lost many subordinates, but at the same time we succeeded in killing a bigger number of humans. We’ve advanced the frontline up to a distance of 100 m from the gate leading into Nonoichi’s city hall. I wanted to destroy that gate by today, but there’s still lots of humans left.
After casting a look at the wall protecting the city hall, I begin with the finishing touches.
I close my eyes and chant in my mind while holding my right hand towards the ground. The ground trembles, and at the tip of my right hand forms a black vortex with a diameter of around 30 cm, as if swallowing the space around it. The usual array of messages streams down across the display on my smartphone.
『You have started 《Reign》』
『《Reign》 has been announced to the hostile entities within its effective range』
『Please remove all hostile entities in range within 180 minutes』
『Alert! Hostile forces confirmed within the effective range. Please eliminate them at once.』
『Display map of effective range? 【ＹＥＳ】 【ＮＯ】』
Messages stream down across my phone’s screen. I tap 【ＹＥＳ】.
What’s reflected on my smartphone is ― 70,000 people in total by a rough estimate. The yellow dots amount to 10 percent of the whole. 20% are neutral ― white dots. And the remaining 70% are red dots.
For close to 70% to still remain hostile under these circumstances…just how much do these people hate me? I feel a light dizziness assailing me due to the breakdown of hostility grades harbored by the humans.
Having said that, I’ve got no intention to act like an honest fool and pass on this information to the enemy. I take out my 【Megaphone】.
『To all humans of the Kanezawa Liberation Army! Did you hear the 《Reign》 alert!? It’s really amazing! I underestimated them…I truly underestimated the bonds between you! For sure I hadn’t expected that only 40% of your entire force would lose heart and desire to surrender to our Aster Empire, even after being cornered into such a hopeless situation!』 I lie to the humans.
『Let me ask you, humans! Has the heart of the comrade next to you already broken? Will you be able to support those of you who lost their will to fight? What kind of feelings are the 40% harboring about this battle as they’re being forced to participate by the 60% who willfully chose death?』
I continue my speech while observing the reactions of the humans.
『You folks of the Kanezawa Liberation Army are truly magnificent! Did you decide your current course of action ― to oppose me ― by majority vote? 60% vs. 40%. It’s somewhat disappointing that not all of you have banded together to challenge me as one, but…those willing to resist are the majority! The majority even under these circumstances! Even if 40% of your comrades wish to live, it’s just the opinion of a minority!』
I exaggeratedly gesture as if I’m closely listening to something.
『Hmm? Your numbers are big? All of you belong to the majority under these circumstances…hmm? The number of those having lost their will to resist isn’t all that great? Really? My smartphone is showing me that 40% of you are willing to surrender, though. Is it possibly seeing through what you truly desire deep down in your hearts without being aware of it yourself? The technology of that bastard of a mastermind, who created this broken world, is damn awesome!』
Now then, what’s going to happen if they’re under the impression that 40%…almost half of their comrades lost their will to fight on? They’ve been believing that everyone banded together to fight against us. And in reality, only 10% are willing to surrender.
Peer pressure exists. But humans…and especially Japanese people have a strong tendency to go with the majority opinion. It’s not just me who thought that it’d be impossible. It’s not just me who doesn’t want to die. What if they imagine that almost half of their comrades are embracing such thoughts?
I look down on my phone’s screen once more. The number of yellow dots has increased to 30% of the whole.
『Uh? This is a weird phenomenon! I intended to praise you for putting up such a brave fight, and yet the number of those willing to surrender has grown? Their number…has exceeded 50%? Why? Did you realize that you aren’t the only one wishing to live on? I wonder which side would be the majority now if we took a vote. 『Kanezawa’s Sage』, 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』, can you hear me? Half of your comrades wish to survive…to surrender to our Aster Empire, you know? What would happen if you made a vote at this very moment? Or are you going to drive them towards their death like you did earlier with your hero?』
I work on shaking up the humans with my words.
『Hmm, I see… At this point it’ll be a walk in the park to overrun you, but I’m a generous man and thus I’ll give you one last chance! We won’t attack for 48 hours from now on. Those wishing to live are to disarm themselves and visit my Domain! Lastly, be aware that attacking us as we retreat will be equivalent to abandoning the lives of tens of thousands of your comrades. Well then, humans, I hope that you’ll choose wisely!』
――All hands, retreat!
After I recommend surrender, I return to my Domain together with my subordinates who’ve reached their limit by now.
Chapter 254 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ⑲
Six hours after we retreated.
While replenishing my subordinates and their items, I ponder about the future plans…
“Shion-sama, can you please spare me a moment?” Mrs. Tamura shows up at my room.
“What’s wrong? Did you run out of some materials?”
“No, we have more than enough materials at hand. I would like to consult you about something else.”
“Hooh? What is it?”
I happened to hear that Mrs. Tamura is troubled about me not calling her by her official name, Masako, but I can’t imagine that she’d approach me about such an issue during busy times like these.
“Before we discuss the matter at hand, I would like to introduce you to a certain person, but would that be alright with you?”
“Introduce a certain person? I don’t mind. Who is it?”
I nod as I agree with Mrs. Tamura’s request.
“Please come in, Mr. Hasebe.”
Once Mrs. Tamura calls for him, a well-dressed, white-haired elderly man enters the room.
Hasebe…I feel like I’ve heard that name somewhere before, but who was he again?
“Shion-sama, you have my deepest gratitude for being so kind as to allow me an audience with you. My name is Hasebe Kazurou.” Mr. Hasebe introduces himself accompanied by a formal, refined bow.
“Mr. Hasebe is the chairman of Kanezawa’s Board of Education and an active city council member.”
After listening to Mrs. Tamura’s additional information, I remembered Mr. Hasebe.
“Aahh…it’s our first meeting, but I recall you helped us out at that time.”
Mr. Hasebe previously allowed us to use his name to recommend surrender to the Kanezawa Liberation Army.
“It would be the greatest delight for me if the number of casualties was lowered by even just one person through the usage of my name.” Mr. Hasebe replies to me with a smile.
“Shion-sama, as you are well aware, Mr. Hasebe belonged to the moderate faction within the Kanezawa Liberation Army.”
“You mentioned something like that, yeah.”
“Not long ago Mr. Hasebe was contacted by his friend in Nonoichi’s city hall.”
“Friend in Nonoichi’s city hall means…”
“Correct, a member of the Kanezawa Liberation Army which is currently fighting against us…” Mrs. Tamura answers by finishing my words.
“Are they asking for clemency? In that case, I intend to accept all those who wish to surrender, just like I told the Kanezawa Liberation Army earlier.”
“Allow me to thank you for your kind-hearted mercy, Shion-sama. However, we are here to talk about another matter.”
“I see. So what is it?”
Is Mrs. Tamura going to ask me to turn Mr. Hasebe into a bloodkin as her brains or something like that? But, it’d be boorish if I were to interrupt again with my unfounded predictions. I’ll stay silent and listen to what they want to discuss with me.
“Okay, please go on, Mr. Hasebe.”
“My name is Masako Shion, got it?”
“…E-Excuse me. Thank you, Masako-san.”
Seeing Mrs. Tamura’s graceful smile, my body shivers.
“So, what is that you want from me?”
I ask for the details of their consultation, also in order to avoid the conversation shifting into a dangerous direction.
“A little while ago I was contacted by my friend. If I start with the conclusion of our talk ―― they want to surrender.
“Hmm?” I cock my head in puzzlement after Mr. Hasebe finishes.
If they want to surrender, they just need to do so. We’ll accept anyone except for 『Kanezawa’s Sage』, 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』.
“We are not talking about my friend alone here. He has approached me about the wish of the entire Kanezawa Liberation Army to surrender.”
I’m shocked by this unexpected statement.
“I don’t mind that, but…is all of the Kanezawa Liberation Army on board with this?”
Since I’ve launched a Reign earlier, I’m grasping the mental state of the Kanezawa Liberation Army better than anyone else. 30% have lost their will to fight, and even when including the neutrals, it’s just 50% who are unwilling to fight. Even if those numbers grew as an effect of my recommendation for surrender…there’s still a long way to go for it to reach 100%.
Above all, I can’t believe that their leaders 『Kanezawa’s Sage』, 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 would accept a surrender.
“No, unfortunately the number of people openly vying for surrender is less than half of the total.” Mr. Hasebe shakes his head in disappointment.
“Isn’t it impossible then?”
“Yes, therefore I wanted to talk with you, Shion-sama.”
“If you could give us your permission, after three days…they will start an armed uprising when you resume your invasion.”
“Is that going to work out?”
“If you give us three days’ time without invading during that period…it will show our friends in the Kanezawa Liberation Army that you are going to accept their will to surrender, Shion-sama. We will gather those of the same mind in the meantime.”
“Are three days going to be enough?”
“Yes. Currently the internal state of the Kanezawa Liberation Army is in a mess. We will try to persuade the others quickly without wasting time.”
“How high are the chances for success?”
“I think the chances are high that we will manage. Many people within the Kanezawa Liberation Army have raised complaints about the way how the sage and saintess interacted with Mr. Mizoguchi.”
“I see…On another note, you mentioned an armed uprising, but what exactly are you planning?”
“After three days, we will throw the gate open upon your signal, Shion-sama.”
I analyze Mr. Hasebe’s proposal in my mind.
“I understand. But, are you fine with that?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your friends who are going to pull off the armed uprising…will need to betray mankind, you know?”
“If we can save even one life with that…we have resolved ourselves to get slandered for this.”
“It’s possible that it won’t stop at slander, isn’t it?”
“Rather than continuing the battle just like this…I believe this method promises us a higher probability of survival.”
“…Indeed. I’ll go along with your proposal. Please tell me if there’s anything I can help you with.”
“You have my gratitude for your kind offer.”
Mr. Hasebe and Mrs. Tamura deeply bow their heads, and leave the room.
An armed uprising, eh…? If Mr. Hasebe’s idea works out…Nonoichi’s city hall is likely going to fall after three days. A coup d’etat at the end of an internal collapse, huh…?
I chuckle all by myself in my room in light of this unforeseen, great opportunity.