Maiden Game Hard Mode – Chapter 90

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Chapter 90 – Battle of the Honyō Star System

The second wave of the Royal Army, which had destroyed Wén shuǐ, crossed the Tenka army rushing to Wén shuǐ for a moment, and then pushed towards the first group.

The intersecting sector was momentarily scorched, and soon regained its frigid tranquility.

The result was displayed on the screen of the Fortress Command Center.

“45,000 Israfel were destroyed. Damage inflicted on the enemy equivalent to 3,600 cruisers. Overall Force Evaluation of star system remains at 100:76.”

According to detailed figures, 45,001 crafts have been destroyed, and the damage on the Ōizumi side is also mixed with destroyers and fighter crafts. Bertrand omitted the detailed figures and read them out in an easy-to-understand manner.

Seeing the result, Hart nodded with a convinced expression, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

“The pilots of the second group were 1.2 times more skilled than the required level.”

The second wave of 1,125,000 Israfel crafts that he brought with him, 4% were dropped at the crossing, but considering the price of destroying Wén shuǐ, it was a bargain.

In the battle between the first wave and the interception fleet, the Royal Army lost only 188,325 crafts, and the destruction of Wén shuǐ resulted in only 233,326 casualties to the Royal Army.

One fleet of the Royal Army is staffed by 500,000 people.

If the death toll of only half a fleet or less could destroy the enemy’s inhabited planet, the Monarchy of Diete would attack again and again until the enemy planets were all gone.

With little damage, Hart destroyed his target, Wén shuǐ, gave birth to a new Spirit King, and joined up with the first wave.

The merged Royal Army created a giant sphere of light on the outer edge of the star system.

The formed photosphere consisted of 15 regular fleets, 16 aristocratic fleets, and 2,016,675 Israfel. Converted to Tenka cruisers, it was equivalent to 235,245 ships.

On the other hand, the Tenka forces of Ōizumi and Honyō had a force equivalent to 180,180 ships flying in the sector around Wén shuǐ, keeping a watchful eye on the Royal Army.

The outnumbered Tenka side did not make a decision to withdraw.

Within the Ōizumi Star System, there are a large number of facilities that have been built over a hundred years, as well as a vast amount of resources that have been gathered over the years. If the Tenka fleet withdraws completely, the Royal Army will gladly destroy the entire star system.

The Tenka army could not decide whether to attack from an inferior position or to retreat, abandoning everything in Ōizumi, and could only perform a perfunctory rescue at Wén shuǐ.

While a standoff occurred between the two armies, Hart began to accommodate the first wave into the fortress.

“The first wave, the designated second wave, the Carneus fleet, enter the fortress immediately.”

A million lights were sucked into the massive body of Fortress Kerviel one after another. Around them, the superior Royal Army lined up in an orderly manner, holding the enemy in check with a heavy wall of light.

As Hart gazed at the massive light, it suddenly hit him.

“Colette’s fleet can be used as a decoy to draw the enemy in.”

The idea was to use the huge light to attract the Tenka fleet like an insect, during which Hart invaded Honyō to increase the success rate of the operation.

With Fortress Kerviel gone, the forces of Ōizumi and Honyō would not be able to move out of the Ōizumi Star System unless Colette’s fleet withdrew.

Furthermore, the disappearance of Fortress Kerviel alone would not be enough to launch an attack on Colette’s fleet.

That’s because Colette and her fleet are stationed at the warpable outer edge of the star system. Having been raided by Fortress Kerviel from the warpout in the first move, they are forced to be wary of Fortress Kerviel, which may return at any moment.

The search network around Ōizumi has been eliminated by Colette and Philine’s destroyer fleet. Therefore, if Fortress Kerviel warps, the Tenka side will not be able to grasp the coordinates of the fortress.

Tenka will not be able to move until three days later, after the Shinkyō forces join them.

Deciding that more time was enough, Hart ordered Colette to act as a decoy.

“That’ll be all. The remaining Israfel have the pilots transferred to their respective fleets and then positioned to keep an eye on the enemy. If the enemy approaches, dispose of them with autopilot and remote self-destruct, and then withdraw the fleet.”

Hart’s orders were passed. However, Colette added conditions.

[Fleet Admiral Amakawa, please explain to the Lords leading the aristocratic army. After all, the fifteen fleets from the Solar System in particular did not fight the enemy in the Solar System, nor will they fight the enemy in Ōizumi, and are nothing more than decoys.]

“I might be dissatisfied if I were in their shoes. I see.”

In response to Colette’s points, Hart was keenly aware of the need for explanation.

If the aristocrats were military personnel who had graduated from the Military Academy, they would understand the significance of victory without fighting with a large army, and they would be convinced without having to explain to each of them. Even if some don’t understand, their superiors would just tell them to follow orders and be done with.

But the conscripted aristocrats will not understand unless they receive an explanation.

And if Hart, the Commander-in-Chief, doesn’t explain himself, they may become frustrated and even drag their feet around at a later date, feeling disgraced by such mistreatment.

Exhaling a sigh, Hart communicated with the aristocrats, explained the significance of the aristocratic army’s work, praised their contribution to the Monarchy, and expressed his gratitude as the Commander-in-Chief.

As a result of the aristocratic army holding the enemy back, they were able to capture Wén shuǐ with minimal casualties.

If they continue to hold the enemy back, the success rate of the Honyō invasion would increase.

With the birth of the three Spirit Kings, the Monarchy can create realms and transition gates in three star systems.

If it can be concluded that as a result of the aristocracy’s participation in the war, the number of transition gates and realms increased, it is a satisfactory outcome. It is a great achievement for the aristocrats, and it can clearly demonstrate to the Royal people the significance of the survival of the aristocratic system.

Hart promised to announce the activities of the aristocratic army to the Royal people after the war, so the Lords were convinced and accepted the decoy role.

However, the aristocrats who received the explanations did not simply comply.

[There are four star systems that do not have a transition gate connected. I hope for the birth of a fourth Spirit King.]

The request was jointly made by Duke Dauphin of the Podalley Star System, which is the rearmost star system of the Monarchy, and Roland, son of Duke Mauriac of the Machaon Star System.

Hart thinks it’s a difficult request to fulfill.

Miasma does not occur on a planet where no living organisms live, so even if they destroy an uninhabited planet in that area, the Spirit King will not be born.

Just as Mira ate three inhabited planets of the Former Coalition, a planet that was inhabited by billions of people until previously and had accumulated enough miasma after being attacked by the Monarchy, it may be possible to purify and convert it into energy. However, there are no such planets.

If they can capture Honyō, the only planets that can be territorialized are of Ten-to and Hercules.

Hercules has probably already been territorialized, and it would be quicker for the invading army reversing from the Republic to reach Ten-to than for Hart to go to Ten-to after heading to Honyō.

In short, humanity does not have the planet necessary to give birth to the Spirit King.

With Mira, a fourth star system can be made into a realm, but the Spirit Emperor, who can improve the safety of the fortress and help in the inheritance of magic power to his descendants, is too valuable to let go.

Hart believes that there is no need to sacrifice his own safety and happiness for altruism.

Therefore, either the Podalley or Machaon star system cannot be territorialized.

The population of both star systems is about 5 billion in Podalley and 4.6 billion in Machaon.

The distance from the enemy Hercules system is almost the same, and the characteristics of the system have advantages and disadvantages, and there is no clear difference in determining the priority.

“The selection of the next planet is difficult, but if possible, we will spare no effort to realize it.”

Hart, who responded like a politician to the two Dukes, left the task of housing the fighter crafts to the Command Center and then fell into a deep sleep in preparation for the long-distance journey.

While Hart slept, the Carneus fleet, which had been deployed to the surrounding sector and had a shortage of ships, was filled by pulling out destroyers and reconnaissance ships from other fleets. The next day, the ready Fortress Kerviel disappeared from the Ōizumi System.

After Fortress Kerviel disappeared, the Ōizumi and Honyō armies did not move from the head planet side, waiting for the Shinkyō army to join.

Two days later, the Shinkyō army arrived, and after spending a day merging, they finally began to head for the Royal Army that remained in the Ōizumi Star System.

In response to the approach of the Three Tenka Nations, Colette fired a plethora of missiles, followed by a massive self-destruction of 891,667 Israfel, and before the artillery battle began, they retreated to the MacLir System.

It was two days later that Yúnlán and Ishidor, who had swallowed up the three star systems of the Republic, reached the Ōizumi System.

In the intermediate sector between the Ōizumi and Honyō Star Systems, which are the rear of Tenka, few reconnaissance ships were deployed, and civilian vessels would not proceed through the space, which would be a detour and a waste of time.

In addition, one day’s travel for Fortress Kerviel is equivalent to four days for the Tenka ships, which still do not have a Daemon crystal. After moving in the zenith direction for about a day, Fortress Kerviel, which had advanced outside the search range, was not captured at all by Tenka’s search network.

Fortress Kerviel, which ran through the heavens, eventually reached a half-day sector from the Honyō Star System.

Then, when they entered a distance where they could not avoid the enemy search, they descended at once, as if a bird of prey were about to attack.

“The losses to the fighter crafts will skyrocket because there is no fleet and second wave. Still, in order to defend the Monarchy, we must defeat Honyō and create a Spirit King.”

When Hart declared that he should tolerate sacrifice, Alois, the Deputy Director of the Fighter Craft Division from a piloting background, cast a protesting glance.

Hart, who took it head-on, reminded Alois.

“We are here to prevent a repeat of the Second Battle of the Diete. The army and military personnel exist to protect the nation and its people. Let the Fighter Craft Division defend our nation to the best of its ability. Brigadier General Khan, is there anything you don’t understand?”

“No, sir.”

Alois, who answered briefly, immediately began talking to his spirits Millie and Jessica.

Looking at the ace pilots, it is clear that the spirits influence the capabilities of the fighter crafts.

If Alois does his best of his own volition, the spirits who favor Alois will lend a hand. Deciding that the result would be somewhat better, Hart left the matter of the fighter crafts to Alois.

Hart then issued another instruction.

“Philine, I want you to concentrate on fleet operations and leave the magic engine of Fortress Kerviel to Claudia and Xuě Lì. Xuě Lì, this will be treated as an aristocratic conscription, and you may be awarded a third Order of Merit after Athena and Fukashiro. Can you participate?”

Xuě Lì’s spirit, Chloe, is an advanced spirit, overwhelmingly more capable than an intermediate spirit.

The problem is Xuě Lì’s temperament, but it seems that her performance in the Battle of Fukashiro Star System has brought about a change in her behavioral standards, and to such a subtle extent, this improved her situation… to the extent that she is not unable to cooperate with Hart.

“Chloe will help me, so I’ll do my best.”

“Alright, then, I’ll ask for your cooperation. Leave the details to Chloe.”

If she works with Claudia’s advanced spirits, the best possible results, which were impossible for a human being, may be expected. Xuě Lì is useful even if she only sits in the Operation Assistant’s seat of her own volition.

With the fortress in place, Hart leapt in the final warp to the outer edge of the star system.

There is naturally a limit to the speed that can be achieved in an enemy star system with many artificial objects.

Accelerating to 200 million kilometers per hour toward Heishuu, the head planet of the Honyō Star System, Hart scattered missiles and all Israfel crafts, and also deployed Philine’s fleet to escort the fortress.

Ships and missiles separated in their accelerated state, uniformly pushed into the interior of the star system. From the fortress, search for enemies in the star system continued, and a rough defensive strength was calculated.

“Enemy and ally Force Evaluation, 100:81. Israfel are equivalent 140,000 ships, while the enemy army is estimated at 114,000 ships. Our army has dominance.”

If the enemy has more than 80% of their own force, they will not reach overwhelming superiority. Hart was disappointed by the report from the Communications Officer, but even so, the difference in strength was enough to break through the enemy.

The inferior Honyō defense fleet chose to advance and meet in a sector away from the head planet. More precisely, they could not escape because of their home planet behind them, so they had no choice but to advance.

“We have the upper hand, so we will continue to advance and engage in melee warfare. We have no reinforcements, but the enemy does. Clean them up as soon as possible.”

It’s a simple push to take advantage of numbers, but it’s normal for the dominant side to make use of numbers.

Since the goal was the destruction of Heishuu and the birth of the Spirit King, there was no reason to hesitate to realize it by going straight ahead.

The attacking Israfel showered the Honyō army with a rain of artillery fire, and about 80% of the energy of the heat was being returned. The two armies eroded each other, turning each other into exploding photospheres.

The 1.12 million fighter crafts that Alois’ spirits intervened in have turned into giant spears of light made up of 20,000 crafts each. Fifty-six giant spears pierced through the enemy fleet with a concentration of force, effectively breaking through the enemy’s formation.

A single fighter craft command post could control up to 30,000 crafts, and the spears wielded up, down, left and right in a somewhat generous system melted enemies who touched the handle of the spear one after another.

The fifty-six spears were coordinated, with two or three simultaneously narrowing in on the enemy to encircle and annihilate them.

“In the battle with the enemy, our army has a slight advantage over the Force Evaluation.”

The spears produced by the fighter crafts and the Honyō Army scrape each other, and the density gradually decreases. However, there was a difference in the speed of the decline, and the Honyō Army was definitely faster.

Satisfied with the battle that unfolded as planned, Hart entrusted the command of the fighter crafts to Alois and the others, and devoted himself to the bombardment of the fortress main gun and the preparation for the celestial entry.

“We are less than 1 billion kilometers from the head planet of Honyō.”

The bombardment of Fortress Kerviel began toward the spaceport, which was unable to move at all.

Undeterred by the cost to the planet, Hart mercilessly threw pillars of light into the planet’s satellite orbit.

Eventually, when part of the spear was folded in and sent around to escort Fortress Kerviel, the fortress reached the point where it could plunge the celestial bodies into Heishuu.

A vast number of civilian vessels scattered and fled from Heishuu.

Perhaps they were unaware of the fact that Tenka had destroyed the Republic’s three star systems, as they had been throwing inhumane insults against the Royal Army. Naturally, Hart ignored all those communications and plunged the celestial bodies.

On the surface of Heishuu, dazzling brilliance was born one after another.

The energy of the collision blows away the land and sea, and the scorching heat burns the planet, annihilating the ecosystem that the Honyō people have created.

In the space around the head planet, all sorts of artificial objects, including Honyō’s warships, numerous civilian ships, and satellites, are attacked by Israfel, which flew around in all directions.

Protected by a dominant ally, Hart continued to drop the celestial bodies filled with magic power on Heishuu, recovering the energy to create a third Spirit King.

In the meantime, enemy and friendly ships and not a few civilian ships were being turned into wreckage.

Both outer space and the planetary atmosphere continued to glow toward the end, like a burning sparkler.

Eventually, having absorbed all the light of Heishuu, Hart ordered a retreat.

“All forces, withdraw. Weave between the fleeing civilian ships and break away. The enemy’s National Mages cannot use the private ships on which the Tenka people are riding as collateral damage. If we attack a civilian ship in Tenka and force the enemy to perform rescue operations, we can use them as shields and stall them.”

The life of one Royal Citizen is greater than the lives of all the enemy people.

With such a Royal Army mindset, Hart and his subordinates, who chose the method of ensuring survival of the greatest number of allies, withdrew to the outer edge of the Honyō Star System, attacking Tenka’s civilian ships to the extent that they did not blow up.

The Honyō army kept chasing them, but in addition to civilian ships, Israfel, which were delayed in leaving, eventually stalled them, and the distance between the main force of the Royal Army and the pursuing force of the Honyō army was widened.

Hart, who had housed as many Israfel as possible at the outer edge of the star system, received a report from Bertrand.

“Israfel in our hold, 528,751 crafts, with a return rate of 47%. The remaining enemy ships are equivalent to about 41,500 ships, about 36%. The Force Evaluation within the star system is 100:63.”

Although the return rate was severe, Hart, who had fulfilled his purpose in creating the Spirit King, concluded that war casualties had fulfilled their duty.

However, the screen of the command center shows several hundred fighter crafts that have not yet returned but have not been killed in action, and who have veered off course to avoid the enemy and could not reach the fortress.

If allowed go to their rescue, it will become an engagement again, and a hundred to a thousand times more allies will be killed. On the contrary, if the battle continues, even the safety of Fortress Kerviel will be threatened.

Hart had his doubts, but he had to decide that it was a pipe dream to break away with all his allies to go into battle so deep within enemy territory.

Fully aware of the ruthless decision, Hart recognized that his duty lay in ultimately winning the war for the Monarchy.

“In five minutes, the fortress will enter the warp. Our destination is the Ten-to Star System. If not territorialized by the Daemon King, we will make it a realm with the Spirit King and end the war once and for all. If territorialized by the Daemon King, we will retreat to the MacLir Star System. Inform all forces.”

If Tenka’s fleet, which had moved from the Republic with the Daemon King, was heading to Honyō instead of Ten-to, Hart would head to Ten-to before it was turned into a realm by the Daemon King.

If the realm of the Spirit King can be deployed in Ten-to, the last Tenka star system, the battle with Tenka will be a victory for the Monarchy by sending a fighter crafts from the Diete Star System at the transition gate.

If Ten-to is captured before the Daemon King connects the transition Gate, the facilities for building Tenka’s ships will not be transported to the Hercules system. Then Hercules would not be able to fight back, and the Monarchy would win.

This is the shortest path to the end of the war.

Even though he thought that the possibility of the realm not being created in Ten-to was minuscule, Hart decided that he should go there immediately, and with a strong sense of duty, he forced his departure from Honyō.

After confirming the Ten-to Star System protected by the Daemon King, Hart fired missiles at various parts of the star system and promptly left.

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