Maiden Game Hard Mode – Chapter 91

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Chapter 91 – The Star System Heist Plan

Upon reaching Ōizumi, Yúnlán saw that his home had become a planet of death.

The Royal Army plunged in 30 celestial bodies.

The 12 objects that fell on the continent created huge craters about 490 kilometers in diameter and 180 kilometers deep.

The energy generated by the collision unleashed thermal radiation within a radius of 5,000 kilometers, sending shockwaves at 900 meters per second 5,000 kilometers away, causing earthquakes with a magnitude of 12.3 on the Richter scale.

The 18 objects that fell into the ocean mitigated the seawater, creating craters that were about 10-20% smaller than those on the planet’s surface.

Nevertheless, the thermal radiation, shockwaves, and earthquakes that occurred caused the same scale of devastation as those that hit the continents. A tsunami 60 to 90 meters high swept 5,000 kilometers away from the impact site, sweeping away everything on the ground.

[In the oceans, molten rocks and superheated gasses boiled over, releasing sulfur trioxide and sending intense acid rain everywhere on the planet. The acid rain killed any plant and marine life that survived the impact, contaminating the atmosphere, oceans, and soil.]

When the oceans are fatally polluted, even modern technology cannot fully clean them up.

With a great deal of time and effort, the environment will one day recover to the point where it can be inhabited. However, because it would be much quicker and cheaper to migrate to the new planet, recovery is not an option in the present day.

Hart, the perpetrator, deliberately caused these contaminations.

In retaliation for the death of 3 billion people in the Second Battle of Diete, led by Ōizumi, he removed Ōizumi from the list of human habitable star systems.

“What happened to the evacuation of the people?”

[We had a month’s grace period before the enemy attacked the planet. The war situation at that time was uncertain, but about half of the inhabitants have evacuated to Ten-to.]

Yúnlán recovered quickly, not only because he was prepared for it with prior information, but also because he himself had destroyed the three planets of the Republic. In addition, his subordinates destroyed Earth in the Solar System in order to stall the Monarchy.

In order to win the war, they destroyed inhabited planets to create Spirit Kings and Daemon Kings. At the same time, he used a scorched-earth campaign to reduce the enemy’s ability to fight and stall the invasion.

It was only when he had acted on logical judgment that Yúnlán was able to reason with the same kind of actions taken by the enemy.

“Let the reinforcements from Honyō and Ten-to bring back the supplies of Ōizumi. The preceding fleet will also retrieve the supplies and head to Ten-to, where most of the people of Ōizumi have gone. Give the same instructions to the main fleet that follows.”

Inwardly, Yúnlán wasn’t as divisive as he had put it into words.

Nevertheless, he made a decision that required intelligence and ordered each fleet to take supplies from the Ōizumi Star System and move them to other Tenka star systems.

In addition, Yúnlán did not create the Daemon King’s realm in the Ōizumi Star System.

“The Ōizumi Star System is your home nation. Won’t you make it a realm?”

Ishidor’s question was not an inquiry of doubt, but a final confirmation of the matter.

The territorialization of the Ōizumi, which has become an uninhabitable star system, is as futile as sprinkling water on the desert. Rather than that, connecting the realm to a new star system would give the Ōizumi people a future.

In the space where humans can navigate, there are many candidate star systems that could be habitable. It would be far more constructive to create the realm in new star systems and connect it with Ten-to and Hercules.

“The Daemon King is limited. There is no need to make the Ōizumi Star System a realm.”

“Hmm. Three realms are the price for interstellar ships and technology. You are free to choose where to connect them. After this, are you heading to the Ten-to Star System?”

“That’s the plan. And then we will connect with Honyō and rebuild the war situation.”

Yúnlán, who set a new goal, sent the fleet to Ten-to.

At this point, Yúnlán thought that the Royal Army, which had overrun Ōizumi, had retreated to the MacLir System.

The news of the new tragedy was delivered the day before reaching Ten-to.

Fortress Kerviel was reported to have appeared in the Honyō Star System and advanced straight into the system, and by the time Yúnlán reached Ten-to, Heishuu had been destroyed.

The damage to the Honyō Star System itself was not a great shock to Yúnlán.

At the time when his home nation, the Ōizumi Star System, had already been destroyed, he had put up a psychological barrier against information.

However, when it came to the deteriorating circumstances, he could not help being pessimistic.

Currently, the three Tenka Nations have about 506,000 ships.

The breakdown is 20,000 ships that broke away from the Solar System, 70,000 ships defending the Hercules system, 74,000 ships that have invaded the Republic, 200,000 ships that remained of Ōizumi and Honyō, and 142,000 ships of Ten-to.

These ships are enhanced in performance by Daemons contracted with magical individuals, and their strength can be increased fivefold within the realm of the Daemon Emperor.

The 500,000 Tenka cruisers are equivalent to 10 million Monarchy Israfel crafts in normal space and 50 million in realm space.

Since Fortress Kerviel alone can carry about 1.12 million Israfel crafts, the safety of the Ten-to and Hercules Star Systems should be considered established… should be.

However, there were only two star systems, and Tenka itself now has only one star system.

At the beginning of war with the Monarchy, the Five Nations of Tenka could not even imagine that they would struggle, let alone be inferior. And when the lid was opened, the head planets of four of the Five Nations have been annihilated.

With only one nation remaining, could Ten-to really establish its safety?

If something is overlooked, Ten-to could be irreparably destroyed. The Tenka Federation will only perish.

Troubled by a problem that no one in Tenka had the answer to, Yúnlán asked his Daemon, Mariel.

“Mariel, what would you do with the current situation?”

『The Monarchy attacked Tenka before it became the realm of the Daemon King. Then Yúnlán should also attack the Monarchy before they create the realm of the Spirit King, and make a star system of the Monarchy the realm of the Daemon King.』

“…… What did you say?”

The answer to the general question was an unexpected and drastic solution.

『If you turn it into a realm with the Daemon King and send an army through the Transition Gate, you can win. Why don’t you turn the two star systems of the Monarchy into realms and make the two into New Ōizumi and New Honyō?』

The effect of Mariel’s strategy will be enormous. Yúnlán, unable to fully imagine the effect that would occur, asked after a slight pause.

“Can it be achieved?”

『All you have to do is go to the Monarchy Star System and let the Daemon King create a realm, specifically…』

Mariel explained the order in which the Monarchy star system can become the realm of the Daemon King.

From the Ten-to Star System, which has already been made into a realm, he jumps to the Hercules star system at the transition gate. This can be done right now.

Then, taking Ishidor, who is contracted with the Daemon King, he travels by high-speed ship, taking a detour from the Hercules System to the Apollo Star System, which is located in the center of the Monarchy territory.

Even if there is a Spirit King realm in the Apollo star system upon arrival, Artemis, Podalley or Machaon can be reached from the center of the Monarchy.

On the other hand, Fortress Kerviel has invaded the Honyō Star System, the deepest part of Tenka, and it will take nearly two months to return.

If Yúnlán heads there immediately, it was unlikely that he would be overtaken by Fortress Kerviel.

“The Solar System, the Ōizumi Star System, and the Honyō Star System. There are still four star systems of the Monarchy that have not been destroyed but have not been confirmed as realms of the Spirit King. If so, we can make one of them the realm of the Daemon King. I wonder if this will lead to a breakthrough.”

Yúnlán, who was presented with a solution so easily, was so stunned that he doubted whether it was really viable.

“Is there no flaw in strategy? The risks are…”

『If the eight star systems of the Monarchy were territorialized from the start, we would have no choice but to give up. If you were to territorialized first, the first move can unilaterally absorb the energy of the star system, so if the ranks were equal, wouldn’t we be able to win?』

Hinting at the worst possibility that the realm of the Spirit King had already been deployed in the eight star systems owned by the Monarchy, Yúnlán was momentarily at a loss for words.

“Can the first move always win?”

『We need energy to operate here. What I am using now is an energy crystallization that is the Daemon Crystal, and Miasma emitted by my Contractor, Yúnlán…』

“Yes, and then?”

『When we create a realm, we can draw power from our own world connected to all the miasma emitted by life forms in the star system. If activated at the same time, victory or defeat will be decided by the difference in ability, but if activated first, it can only be overridden if they have the means and power to counteract the energy.』

Mariel’s explanation made sense to Yúnlán for the time being.

“To what extent can Mariel override it?”

『Yes. If I were a Daemon Emperor, I could override the realm of an ordinary Spirit King. However, if we are dealing with a peculiar Spirit King, there may be some risk. Singularities can be indistinguishable, so basically it’s better not to try it.』

“Unfortunately, we are losing against the Monarchy.”

『If Yúnlán fails, I will return to the Daemon World. But, I appreciate that you have promoted me to King, so for the new Daemons I create, I will also make a child who will inherit Yúnlán’s magical properties.』

Suddenly, Yúnlán thought of the Nymph Spirits of Greek mythology.

The Nymph is said to be long-lived and lends its power to humans, but it is also said to have a dark side, such as kidnapping men. The Nymph spirit of the tree is called a Dryad, and it drags the man it favors into its tree to suck his spirit.

Yúnlán had already been sucked by Mariel, and it seemed that she had taken in his magic properties.

Looking at Mariel, Yúnlán imagined that the Nymphs, creations of ancient humans, may have been born from the experiences of humans who contracted with Daemons and borrowed their power.

However, the price is worth the magic power characteristics that have been sucked up before he knew it.

As for Mariel’s proposal, Yúnlán, who could not say that the Daemon King was at hand, consulted Yuen as his own idea.

“With all this in mind, I think this operation should be carried out.”

[So you mean to take away the inhabited star system of the Monarchy?]

Showing the same kind of surprise as Yúnlán, Yuen immediately realized the value of the operation.

It is far easier to occupy a star system that is already inhabited by humans than to turn an uncivilized star system into a realm of the Daemon King, bring in supplies through the Transition Gate, and perform terraforming to develop the initial stage.

And above all, if they take two of the Monarchy’s star systems and make them belong to Tenka, they will not simply gain 2, but they can deprive 2 from the hostile forces, granting twice the effect.

Moreover, it is not only national power that can be taken.

[If you take the Monarchy’s star system, we will have all the resources, technology, information, and humans over there. Will it be a landmark achievement like when the Monarchy took Fukashiro?]

Yuen thought that the billions of Royal Citizens could be a decisive factor in ending the war with the Monarchy.

After each star system of both factions is protected by the realm of the Spirit King and the Daemon King, neither side will be able to attack the enemy star system. If there is a stalemate, both sides will eventually have to consider a ceasefire or an end to the war.

At that time, if a truce or the return of civilians after the end of the war were to be presented as a condition for negotiations, the Monarchy, under pressure from the Royal people who want the return of their families, will have no choice but to consider ending the war, regardless of whether it is necessary or not.

Yuen, who had called for the current War, is well aware that he has misjudged the strength of the Monarchy.

If it were only in his own star system, it would be profitable because he had obtained the Daemon Crystal unscathed, but the situation was completely different from what Yuen had imagined before the start of the war.

However, if the war ends not with surrender but with truce, Tenka’s descendants will be able to increase the number of fighter craft pilots from National Mages contracted with Daemons, and in the future they will be able to overturn their inferior position.

If they are competing forces, there is no need to force war.

Now that he has obtained the Daemon Crystals, he has the option of advancing into multiple star systems, while under the same Ruling Family. After the end of the war, there was also the option of expanding Tenka’s territory without dealing with the Monarchy.

In view of the various possibilities, Yuen agreed with Yúnlán’s proposal.

[I think there’s a possibility that we can improve the situation. Do it.]

“Understood. Then, prepare an attack force in the Ten-to or Hercules Star System to coincide with the timing of reaching the Monarchy’s star system.”

[Of course. I have one thing to discuss with you…]

Yuen spoke about the reception of the refugees.

About half of the 12.5 billion population of the Ōizumi Star System, where the Royal Army had been staking out for nearly a month, had left before the head planet was destroyed. Conversely, only about 10% of the 11.2 billion people of the Honyō Star System, which was destroyed in a quick attack, was able to flee.

A rough estimate says there are more than 7 billion refugees, but Ten-to, which is only backwards compatible with the Solar System, cannot afford to accept them.

If pushed in, they will be accomodated, but the resources allocated to 30.3 billion people will be reduced as the 7 billion people enter. Internal strife was obvious, and Yuen was worried about the future where the Tenka people would be at odds with each other.

Even if the Monarchy’s star system is conquered as proposed by Yúnlán, it will not be possible to live there immediately due to ground sweeping battles and other issues. However, interstellar ships carrying an unexpectedly large number of refugees will not be able to maintain a circulatory system indefinitely.

[If there is a realm of the Spirit King in the Apollo star system, it would take even longer to emigrate. Can we temporarily evacuate them to the surface of the planet Alcaeus in the Hercules system?]

Yúnlán, who no longer has an inhabitable planet, had no choice but to accept Yuen’s suggestion.

And Ishidor, who had been listening to them, nodded his head.

“It’s on the surface where the former Coalition people lived, that’s fine. For those of us who live underground, it would be an uncomfortable place to live, and it’s going to add to Zirke’s miasma.”

Alcaeus is a tidal-fixed planet with a gravity of 1.8 times that of Earth.

The side facing the star is perpetually in the blazing sun of midsummer, and the opposite side is perpetually in the darkness of winter.

Therefore, suitable habitat areas for humans are limited to the midpoint between day and night, where the star is visible on the horizon, or in underground space.

If above ground, one must stay under a dim pre-dawn sky, or under an unchanging sky stained with twilight.

There is a good reason why the Herculeans are confined to the underground space in a box garden, where they can create day and night, four seasons, the weather, and even the appropriate temperature.

“Let the people of Ōizumi choose where they can. Either create a realm in the Monarchy and wait by ship until the planet is conquered, or they can live on Alcaeus first.”

[We will allow their responces to the extent possible, but if a ship has problems with oxygen, water, or food, we will have no choice but to drop off the crew at Alcaeus. Since it is impossible to respond to each individual case, the selection itself is performed mechanically.]

“It is unavoidable.”

If one was to live on Alcaeus, it would be unbearable.

Determined to seize the Monarchy’s star system as soon as possible, Yúnlán and Ishidor sneaked into the Monarchy territory on a high-speed battleship.

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