Chapter 255 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ⑳
On the appointed day for Mr. Hasabe’s suggestion to bear fruit, I had my subordinates surround Nonoichi’s city hall.
“You think they’re going to keep their promise?”
“Who knows? Though, according to Masako-sensei, he seems to be someone who can be trusted.”
“Even if we can trust Mr. Hasabe, it’s a completely different story when it comes to the credibility of the people trusted by Mr. Hasabe.”
“You’ve got a point. People do break their promises easily after all.” As someone distrusting humans a lot more than I do, Kanon agrees with a deep nod.
“Oh well, I suppose we should get ready for the gains we’ll achieve if it succeeds.”
――All hands, let me do the final checks for the upcoming operation!
――Rina corps, shelter the humans who surrender to us while hosting your red flags!
“As you command!”
――Hibiki corps, Iron corps, deal with the humans pursuing them!
“Of course, Master!”
――Chloe corps, Layla corps, clean up the humans in front of the gate while protecting me!
“I shall do so even in exchange for my life!”
“I won’t let those worms touch a single strand of your hair, Shion-sama!”
――All remaining corps are to storm Nonoichi’s city hall! We’re going to settle this today!
With Takaharu and Red’s corps as core, the remaining subordinates raise warcries that make the earth tremble.
――Let me inform you of some points of note: You’re forbidden to attack anyone who has no will to fight! Tell those who have lost their fighting spirit to sit down on the ground…and consider every other human as hostile!
――Lastly, in case the proposed surrender proves to be false, we will overrun all humans! Teach the humans our true nature as 【Chaos】!
――The operation starts from now on!
『Mine name is Shion of the Aster Empire! In accordance with our pact, I have come to free our comrades and capture the foolish leaders Andou Hideya and Kayama Saori! Comrades! It’s time for you to make your stand! Regain your freedom together with me!』
Using my Megaphone, I urge the conspirators lurking within the city hall to start the armed uprising.
Now then, I wonder how things are going to turn out? Are the humans going to answer my call?
While embracing complex feelings of anticipation and anxiety, I look at the gate of the wall protecting the city hall.
5 seconds…10 seconds…30 seconds…1 minute…
For a minute to feel so long…if I hadn’t checked the time, I might have ordered a general attack against the humans out of disappointment.
…3 minutes later.
“…Kanon, is this a dud?”
“Hmm…let’s wait a bit…ah!”
Just when I impatiently ask Kanon――
The gate, which has been firmly locked, is thrown open, and countless humans are rushing out.
Which side is it?
Is their objective to intercept us…or to surrender…?
The human leading the charge is…carrying a weapon! So it failed, huh?
“All hands, begin the――”
Just as I’m about to give the signal for a full attack――
I see a human behind the first furiously waving a white flag, shouting something at the weaponholder.
“Y-You people…what’s the idea here!?”
“We’re abiding Hasabe-sensei’s call to surrender to the Aster Empire!”
“We can’t leave our lives in the hands of those brats!”
“W-Wait! Are you sane!? The enemy is our nemesis ―― Demon King Shion!”
“Shut up! I’m just fine with a Demon King! He’s at least much kinder than 『Kanezawa’s Sage』, no, 『Kanezawa’s Clown』!”
“C-Calm down…don’t get deceived by the enemy’s propaganda!”
The area in front of the gate has become very chaotic because of the humans of different alignments arguing amongst each other.
――All hands, begin the operation!
I tell my subordinates to start.
『Dear comrades of Mr. Hasabe, discard your weapons and converge with the military forces hoisting red banners! We will consider anyone carrying weapons as hostile and attack them! A message to our comrades who stayed behind in the city hall: Those wishing to surrender are to discard their weapons, and sit down on the spot! We will consider anyone standing as hostile and attack them!』
Many humans swarm towards the red banners Rina’s corps waves in response to my speech.
『All hands, protect our comrades! We’ll liberate our comrades who are still trapped in the city hall!』
As if to say that justice is on our side, I stress the words 『Comrades』 and 『Liberate』. My subordinates advance on the city hall that has not transformed into pure chaos as different beliefs are clashing with each other among the humans.
Three hours later.
More than 50,000 humans have expressed their will to surrender. All my subordinates, except for Rina, Chloe, and Layla’s corps, have invaded the city hall. Apparently caught unprepared by the betrayal of their fellow humans, the remaining defenders have been swept away and we succeeded in invading each floor while holding an overwhelming advantage over the enemies.
I check the situation through Takaharu’s eyes, who’s running across the front line at full speed. The first floor is already under our control. Only the second and third floor are still being contested.
Many humans are sitting on the floor, demonstrating their will to surrender. I guess it’s about time, huh?
――Kotetsu, can you wrap this whole battle up within three hours?
Kotetsu answers my direct telepathic message.
――I’ll start 《Reign》 from now on! You have three hours to gain total control of the entire area!
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’ve started a 《Reign》 against the last humans remaining in Ishikawa prefecture.
Chapter 256 – Invasion of Nonoichi City ㉑
One hour after I launched 《Reign》.
The clean-up of the enemy forces outside Nonoichi’s city hall has been completed. We also gained total control of the second floor within the city hall, making the third floor the last contested area.
Looking at my smartphone, it’s filled with yellow dots ― surrenderers. The number of red dots ― hostile forces ― has drastically fallen below a thousand. Sometimes we overcame the opponent with power, other times we used clever strategies, but at the very end it’s an internal fallout that wraps it all up, huh…?
Hasn’t the final act arrived awfully quickly? The powers within the Ishikawa prefecture I need to defeat for a complete unification have dwindled down to one more…
Demon King Kaoru…might require special means to be dealt with. As far as I can tell from what I’ve seen of his troops during the invasion of our sectors, their individual power is quite high.
The enemy main force very likely consists of baron-class subordinates ―― the same class as Izayoi among my subordinates, and insubordinated former Demon Kings. I couldn’t confirm any former humans like Rina or Kotetsu, but the chance for him to have some isn’t zero.
If you take the difference of armament into account, Takaharu, Kotetsu, and Rina would likely win in a one-on-one. However, what about Chloe and Layla? If they fought Kaoru’s main force, they’d most likely lose.
A battle against Demon Kings greatly differs in style and type of interpersonal combat. Unlike a battle against humans which depends on numbers and strategy to achieve victory, a battle against Demon Kings depends on the strength of the individuals and teamwork within a platoon-sized team to achieve victory.
The advantage of the defending side is really way too lopsided in a Domain invasion…
Contrary to the numbers limitation of the attacking side, the defending side can field as many troops as they want. This becomes an extremely big constraint. Invading while whittling down the enemy forces bit-by-bit and leveling at the same time is the best option, I think.
As I’m repeatedly simulating scenarios of the coming battles in my head as I’m bored from merely holding up my hand during a Reign…
“Shion, do you have a moment?”
…Rina, whom I’ve entrusted with the protection of the surrenderers, calls out to me.
“What’s wrong? Did some kind of problem occur?”
“I received a message from my Grandfather.”
“From Kotetsu? What’s the issue?”
“He’s merely asking whether you’re up to date on their situation.”
If I’m asked whether I’m following what’s going on the battlefield, I must admit I haven’t done so. The war situation is already a lost cause for the humans, and troubles are unlikely as well.
“With this I’ve passed on my Grandfather’s message.” Only saying this much, Rina returns to her former position.
I decided to check Kotetsu’s situation on my smartphone. I confirm the circumstances around him through his eyes.
My subordinates are surrounding more than a hundred humans who have been driven close to a wall.
――Kotetsu, I’ve grasped the situation. What’s up?
“Shion-sama, can you hear me?” Kotetsu talks to me as if holding a monologue.
――I hear you.
“How about their words?”
Kotetsu’s eyes are directed at ―― 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』.
“P-Please…spare them…I-I don’t matter. Please just spare the lives of my comrades.”
“Please! Save us! It’s not like we fought because we wanted to fight!”
I can see the two frantically pleading for their lives.
I see. Operating my smartphone, I switch to the 《Reign》 display. They’re yellow, huh…? Despite having boasted their will to fight so assertively, both have now completely submitted. On the other hand, I can see several red dots among the humans with 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』.
Kotetsu is asking me how to proceed with 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』. If I leave them alone, they’ll become my subordinates. The arrival of a long-awaited healer and buffer. They’d be valuable assets for the Aster Empire which will soon head into a war against Kaoru.
But――they abandoned Rina. I could tie them down with orders if they become my subordinates, so I wouldn’t need to worry about them betraying us. I could limit their freedom through orders as well…however, if you turn it around, I’d need to always watch their words and deeds, always restricting everything they do with orders.
According to what I’ve heard from Rina, 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 still has some hope left. But, 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 is a lost case. Going by Rina, she’s rotten to the core. She’d be a problem child on a completely different scale when compared to Takaharu, Sarah, Saburou, or Hibiki…no, she’d have the potential to become a calamity for me.
What would Rina tell me if I asked her? Very likely she’d leave the decision to me. Can I domesticate 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 ?
Nope… I’m already troubled by her existence this much at this point in time. Those troubles would likely only keep growing if I turned her into my subordinate.
What is 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 going to think if I liquidate 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』? Is he going to pledge his allegiance to me? To me who slew his friend in cold blood…
In the first place, are the words of 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 to only save his friends actually his true feelings? If he had such a strong backbone, he wouldn’t have pushed Mizoguchi to his death, I’m sure. In other words, it’s an act.
And even without all that, I’ve announced to the Kanezawa Liberation Army that I wouldn’t acknowledge the surrender of 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』. Hence, I’ve got to keep my promises as a leader. Neither of them is personnel I’d desire to the extent of hurting my own credibility.
――Kill 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』.
“Are you certain?” Kotetsu confirms my order.
――I have declared that I wouldn’t allow those two to surrender.
“As you command.”
I stop Kotetsu who’s drawn his katana.
――Slay them after passing on my words.
I take out the 【Megaphone】.
“A message to 『Kanezawa’s Sage』 Andou Hideya and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 Kayama Saori: I shall grant your final wish!”
“T-That’s great to hear…”
The two are relieved after hearing my words.
“Just as you desire――I shall acknowledge the surrender of the remaining humans in exchange for your lives!”
“Eh!? T-That’s wrong!!”
“I-I haven’t said anything like that!”
Hearing my declaration, their expressions change from relief to despair.
“Kotetsu, Takaharu, kill the two!”
“P-Please wait! I can be of us――”
“Wait! Only I shou――”
『Kanezawa’s Sage』 and 『Kanezawa’s Saintess』 are killed while pleading for their lives in despair.
“A message to the Kanezawa Liberation Army: Discard your weapons and surrender within 10 seconds! A message to all my subordinates: Kill all armed humans after 10 seconds have passed! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…do it.”
Alongside the end of the countdown, tolling their death, the last remaining red dots vanish all at once.
Three hours after launching 《Reign》 all humans have disappeared from the soil of Ishikawa prefecture.