Maiden Game Hard Mode – Chapter 94

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Chapter 94 – Battle of the Apollo Star System

A river of light connected the outer rim of the Apollo Star System to the Apollo star.

At the source of the gushing light was Fortress Kerviel, and in its center, looking out over the center of the star system, was a green-haired Naiad.

『I’ve made the connection.』

Mira, who created the River of Light, did not speak of the effects of mysterious phenomena.

However, Hart, who is connected to Mira by magic, perceived that a magic element circulation has been created between Mira and the Apollo Star System. The power that had been sent out unilaterally using the spirit crystal of the Spirit God now flowed into Mira after the river of light was connected to the planet Delphoi and the Apollo star.

『I have partially taken over the Daemon King’s realm.』

Currently in the Apollo Star System, the realm of the Daemon King and the Spirit Emperor exist simultaneously.

The Daemon King’s realm is still active, but Mira has also built a bridgehead so that she can wield power using the miasma of the Apollo Star System without consuming the spirit crystal of the Spirit God.

And to Hart, it felt like the spirit crystal that Mira was holding in her hand still had a strong brilliance.

『Mira, what is the consumption rate of the Spirit God’s crystals and the occupancy of the realm between you and the Daemon King? Which of them has the upper hand in the scramble?』

Mira, when asked, stared at the crystals in her hand and then answered while turning her gaze toward the center of the star system.

『I’ve used about 10 percent. The occupancy ratio of the realm is 1:9 at the moment, but as long as I have a foothold, there is no problem. Please assume the magic engine output of both armies in the Apollo Star System to be the same as in normal space.』

Seeing that Mira seemed to have plenty of leeway, Hart wondered if throwing the Spirit King Alfrida into the fray would have been enough to erode the Daemon King’s realm.

However, Mira is not only a Spirit Emperor, she’s clearly unique.

If he threw in other common Spirit Kings and failed, he would be blindsided. Hart told himself that the only way to be sure was to use Mira.

『Tenka has opened the transition gate. Please connect the transition gate to the Diete Star System. You can use the spirit crystal of the Spirit God.』

『The opponent is an ordinary Daemon King, so there’s no need to use any more. Wait a moment.』

Nodding in response to Hart’s reply, Mira fell silent, surrounded by a faint light.

Then, a green glow emerged from the river of light, changing its shape and creating a huge transition gate in the Apollo Star System.

Sooner than the command center personnel could report, Hart sent orders to the Diete System via the restored interstellar communication.

[Commander-in-Chief Amakawa, to all forces on standby in the Diete System. From this, there will be a transition gate to the Apollo System in the Diete System. All ships, enter the transition gate at maximum speed. Currently, planet Delphoi in the Apollo Star System is on the verge of collapse.]

The first to move in the Diete System was the Spirit Emperor Janet.

More precisely, Janet had acted independently long before communication was established. She had accelerated the three strategic satellites built in the Diete System for deployment in each star system to 200 million kilometers per hour.

They were Royal Army Strategic Satellites named Fraga 2, Fraga 3 and Fraga 4, unmanned weapons boasting massive bodies measuring 300 to 500 kilometers in diameter.

The first strategic satellite used by the Royal Army was the strategic satellite Fraga, which was destroyed by Tenka in the MacLir System. At that time, the Spirit King Seraphina was running one, but Janet and Mira were superior Spirit Emperors.

Janet manipulated three Strategic Satellites at the same time without any construction, creating a transition gate in front of the three satellites that were rushing forward at lightning speed. The three satellites entered the transition gate at high speed and disappeared from the Diete System.

『If it’s one for a Spirit King, then three for a Spirit Emperor should be fine, right?』

Muttering to herself, Janet reopened the transition gate in front of the Royal Army and swallowed up one after another the Monarchy warships that had raised the output of their magic engine to the maximum.

The first to fly out into the Apollo System were three giant Strategic Satellites thrown out by Janet.

The three satellites, all of which had numerous magic element engines attached to their entirety, glowed with a green light as they began their simultaneous plunge toward the satellite orbit of the planet Delphoi at a speed of 200 million kilometers per hour.

“Three strategic satellites, rushing into enemy forces!”

The command officers were horrified by the speed of the Strategic Satellites as they appeared on the screen at Fortress Kerviel’s Command Center. If a satellite with a diameter of more than 300 kilometers were to collide with a planet at a speed of 200 million kilometers per hour, the planet itself would be blown away.

As it turned out, their fears were unfounded. The three Strategic Satellites immediately began to decelerate.

However, the method of deceleration of the Strategic Satellites was beyond human common sense.

The Strategic Satellites, each with a volume tens of times that of Fortress Kerviel, unleashed a fusion round swarm to the front, slowing down the surrounding Tenka fleet as collateral.

A celestial body with a diameter of 400 kilometers would have a volume about 88 times that of Fortress Kerviel. The flood of fusion rounds released from these three giant bodies simultaneously turned into a flash of light that illuminated the star system everywhere, staining the sector secured by the Tenka Invasion Army white.

“Strategic Satellites, firing hundreds of millions of fusion rounds, while invading the planet Delphoi. Magic reaction of the Tenka Invasion Army, disappearing en masse.”

The officers were stunned and astonished by the radar observations.

The energy of the exploding fusion rounds blew outwards, sweeping away the Tenka fleet that had been swarming in the surrounding sector. Shockwaves and debris of ships swept through the sector, turning the outer ships into wreckage one after another.

The enormous energy, of course, also struck the three Strategic Satellites.

However, the Strategic Satellites that were pushing through the river of light received the energy of the explosions surging forward with green light, and slowed down unscathed.

Is the unusual defensive power of the Strategic Satellites due to the conversion of magical elements in the star system into a shield?

Or was it because the energy of the explosion was released into the world of the Spirit Emperor Mira or another dimension?

Either way, the Apollo System was steadily becoming Mira’s realm.

“Bridgeheads and formations built by the Tenka Invasion Army in the star system have collapsed. Three strategic satellites are heading toward the planet Delphoi at a slowing pace.”

As Bertrand reported, the three Strategic Satellites that had cleared all obstacles approached Delphoi, swimming briskly through the Naiad’s gleaming river.

The three had numerous artillery gates, destroying the Tenka ships within range one after another. Then, as if deploying three glowing shields, began to orbit the planet like moons at equal intervals.

By then, ships that had gathered in the Diete System had also entered the Apollo System.

The fleet that overflowed from the Diete System descended the river of light created by Mira, showering the Tenka fleet with masses of light like splashes of water from the river.

The Tenka fleet scattered around the perimeter also turned their bows and fought back against the Royal Army one after another.

“Our army and the Tenka Invasion Army have begun engagement all over the sector. At present, the magic elements in the star system are in disarray, accurate Force Evaluation has not been possible.”

Within the star system where Mira and the Daemon King are fighting for territory, the magic elements were ravaged, making it impossible for humans to search for enemies.

“Then there is no need for a Force Evaluation. The entire army of the Monarchy is superior in total strength to the entire army of Tenka. Set the goal of the operation as the annihilation of the enemy army, and defeat them with maximum efficiency.”

Hart, who had indicated his policy to Bertrand, connected the restored communication to General Griete, the local commander. When Griete appeared on the communication screen with a salute, Hart responded and announced his requirements.

“This is Fleet Admiral Amakawa. We have arrived in the Apollo System. What is the evacuation rate of residents?”

[About 80 percent. There was not enough time for all the inhabitants to escape, and the Marquis of Zäckingen, who stayed behind, was killed in action. The planet Delphoi has already suffered more than 50 million casualties.]

From to his left, Hart heard Claudia’s gasp.

Realizing that he had not been able to make it in time, Hart hesitated for a moment and then asked about the other senior aristocrats.

“What of the man in charge of the evacuation, Duke Coesfeld, and his assistants, the two Marquises?”

[The Duke of Coesfeld and the Marquis of Carneus are alive and well, but the Marquis of Zäckingen, who took over the lordship with some of the elderly aristocrats, have died in battle.]

Hearing Zäckingen’s death, Hart gasped. At the same time, he also understood the reasons for such an outcome.

It was not possible for all the aristocrats to leave before the evacuation of all the inhabitants was completed.

To the aristocrats who wanted to remain for the sake of the inhabitants, Zäckingen, a former Lieutenant General and Fleet Commander, would have used his background to insist that he himself would stay behind and quickly evacuate the other aristocrats and the people of the star system.

From the other aristocratic families who could not leave Zäckingen on his own, it seemed that elderly aristocrats who were too old to leave offspring had fulfilled their responsibilities.

“They did well. They were very respectable aristocrats of the Monarchy.”

Hart returned the words conveyed during his first meeting with Zäckingen.

If they have fulfilled their duty, Hart, who has been entrusted with the fate of the people of the star system, must also respond to their wishes. Hart gave Griete his orders.

“As of this moment, I, Fleet Admiral Amakawa, will take over the command of all forces in the Apollo System. The enemy will be dealt with by myself and the reinforcements. General, take command of the remaining ships of the Star System Forces and evacuate the ships carrying civilians to the warpable sector of the outer edge of the star system.”

[Understood, Your Excellency Fleet Admiral.]

When Griete’s figure disappeared from the communication screen, Hart also gave the same orders to the Apollo aristocrats, Philine and Claudia.

“I appoint General Carneus as Commander of Rescue Operations on the planet Delphoi and Major General Coesfeld as Second-in-Command. In addition to the Fortress Stationed Fleet, all military and aristocratic reinforcements from the Diete System are at your disposal in the name of the General Headquarters. Aid the greatest number of people in the star system possible.”

“Understood.”

“I’ll dispatch a rescue unit immediately.”

The appointed Philine moved quickly.

[From General Headquarters, Admiral Carneus, Commander of Rescue Operations, orders all 17 fleets.]

Philine ordered the 17 fleets that had arrived in the Apollo System to advance independently, hoping that any one of them would make it to the planet.

[Immediately deploy to the planet Delphoi with the fighter crafts in the surrounding sector as escorts. Conduct planetary control battle, annihilate the invading enemy forces, and rescue the Royal people. Damage to the army is acceptable. The Royal Army Fleet exists to protect the Royal people. Now is the time to fulfill your mission.]

While Philine ordered the army, Claudia was also mobilizing the conscripted aristocrats.

[From General Headquarters, Major General Coesfeld, Deputy Commander of Rescue Operations, orders all the ships of the conscripted aristocrats capable of assault and landing operations. Follow the surrounding Monarchy fleet and deploy to the planet Delphoi to rescue the Royal subjects. Send an unmanned weapons group in advance. Ten percent will be enough.]

Leaving the rescue to two people who gave the highest priority to the lives of the Royal people, Hart concentrated on the largest battle in human history, in which both sides would deploy hundreds of millions of men into the battle.

Tens of millions of fighter crafts fly around, and a torrential downpour of light emitted by the ships rained down across the entire star system, creating a storm with countless wreckage.

In the blink of an eye, hundreds of ships were pierced, burned down, and turned into flashes.

If Hart consciously squinted his eyes, he could see the spirits that moved the fighter crafts and the Daemons that moved the Tenka ship flying around the sector with each other, shooting magic and killing each other.

Flying Spirits and Daemons move around with complex and bizarre maneuvers as if they were sword masters reading each other’s movements, and piercing each other in a split-second crossing. And then, some of the light emanating from the side that was killed was sucked into the side that killed.

The phenomenon of the light being sucked in made Hart feel a sense of déjà vu.

When Fleur, Rhea, and Alfrida purified and sucked the miasma of a planet, the light from the planet caused a similar phenomenon.

『Are Spirits and Daemons eating each other?』

『Yes. There is a small percentage of Spirits and Daemons that are not mass-produced, and they can prey on their opponents. The energy absorption efficiency is high.』

Mira, who is fighting with the Daemon King, stated in a casual manner with an empty consciousness.

In the Monarchy, Israfel pilots were given a large number of short-lived replica spirit crystals, while humans and aristocrats who operated earlier Monarchy warships had ordinary spirit crystals.

In this regard, Mira earlier used the metaphor of the relationship between humans and androids.

If the same was true on the Tenka side, it seemed that battles between Spirits and Daemons, not between humans, would occur in some parts, and the victorious side would grow.

The spirits restricted here cannot be promoted to advanced spirits on their own.

Nevertheless, intermediate spirits who have absorbed a large amount of the power from Daemons will become equivalent to advanced spirits if only in power, and if there is no restriction on the side of the Daemons, the number of advanced Daemons will also increase.

Imagining the problems that would arise at a later date, Hart wore a bitter expression on his face at the endless increase in work.

Hart’s future headaches, the Intermediate Spirits and the Intermediate Daemons, are in a chaotic battle over the entire sector. Putting aside the problems of later dates, chaotic battles must be controlled.

Fortunately, Fortress Kerviel Command had the leading expert on fighter crafts.

Major General Alois Khan, who was promoted in the Honyō Star System Battle and promoted from Deputy Director of the Fortress Kerviel Fighter Craft Division to Director, has a rare ability to get active support from spirits.

Hart hoped that Alois, the leading figure, would be able to get things under control.

“Major General Khan, take control of the fighter crafts of this star system in the names of the General Headquarters and Fleet Admiral Amakawa. Our first priority is to ensure the safety of the planet Delphoi. The second goal is to conquer the sector around the enemy’s transition gate. If we can’t do that, we have nothing to talk about.”

Receiving the order, Alois received advice from his own Spirit, as Hart had expected.

The fighter crafts in a chaotic situation are so focused on the battle at hand that they do not have time to think about anything else. However, if it is a spirit, it can grasp the battle situation through the flow of magic elements, and act according to the purpose with a broader perspective than the pilot.

After receiving advice from the spirit, Alois asked Hart.

“I will command the pilots and the android soldiers after conveying the orders of His Excellency the Fleet Admiral. But for the pilot’s spirits, may I ask your Excellency to convey the message to them using your own spirit? That’s the most effective, by this minor officer’s spirit.”

“I see, very well.”

When the work eventually ripened back to Hart, a dramatic change occurred on the battlefield. The Royal Army has redirected itself from mere violence of numbers to orderly maneuvering.

At this moment, the person who understood the situation of battle in the Apollo system the most was not the Command Headquarters of the two armies whose instruments were in disarray, Mira who fought with little energy, nor the Daemon king Heidi who was being eroded by the superior Spirit Emperor, but Mariel, the Daemon King of Yúnlán.

Within the realm of the Daemon King Heidi that Ishidor had deployed, Mariel, who had perceived Heidi’s realm as an ally, accurately foresaw the outcome from the way Heidi’s world was being eroded by the Spirit Emperor Mira.

『We’re 100 percent going to lose this battle. You have no choice but to flee while Heidi holds out. Issue a withdrawal order. Otherwise, everyone will be eaten.』

In the battle for the realm between the Spirit Emperor and the Daemon King, the Spirit Emperor wins. In that case, Tenka, with the road to Ten-to closed, will not be able to defeat the Monarchy connected with Diete.

When Mariel concluded that further fighting was meaningless, Yúnlán posed a question to her with the intention of protest.

『If you make a realm first, wouldn’t you have to have the means and power to counter the energy before they could override it?』

『Yes. Hence, why the Monarchy countered with a Spirit Emperor by using high-energy crystals. Even if the Daemon King of Ishidor attacks other star systems, they may be too subtle to secure. So run away.』

Yúnlán was frustrated by the sheer unreasonableness of the situation.

As a preemptive advantage, the Monarchy fed on the three star systems of the former Coalition and four star systems of Tenka, as well as the Solar System. On the other hand, Tenka only had the three star systems of the Republic.

Still, thinking that the situation was better than it had been before he joined forces with Ishidor, Yúnlán took a big, deep breath and accepted the reality.

Deciding that the operation had failed and that they should pull up as soon as possible, Yúnlán advised Yuen to withdraw.

[What will happen to the Daemon King who has deployed in the Apollo Star System?]

“It will be consumed. But you can think of it as consuming the Spirit Emperor of the Monarchy. It would be better than that being used on Ten-to.”

It was an unexpected result, but it was not in vain, as it consumed the trump card of the Monarchy. To Yúnlán, who insisted, Yuen admitted to the argument.

[Fine. No matter where you consume the Daemon King that was supposed to be used for Ōizumi, you are free to do so, Yúnlán.]

As if to make Ōizumi take responsibility, Yúnlán frowned with displeasure at the way he was talking. It was Yuen, who presided over the entire invasion, who approved the invasion operation, and it is unreasonable that only Ōizumi would bear the responsibility.

However, as the Royal Army that had recaptured the space around the planet Delphoi was approaching the Tenka Transition Gate, Yúnlán avoided the argument.

The Tenka invasion army, which had been ordered to retreat, gradually began to withdraw as if flowing into the Tenka side of the transition gate, even though it was pushed by the Royal Army.

The immediate response to such retreat action by Tenka was taken by Mira, who was competing for territory with the Daemon King.

As soon as the Royal Army had secured the area around the planet Delphoi, Mira had three Strategic Satellites fly out of the planet and charge into the transition gate on the Tenka side.

Destroying the Tenka fleet in its path with artillery fire, Mira began to charge the Strategic Satellites and gave a warning to Hart.

『Please evacuate all the Monarchy warships from the vicinity of the Daemon King’s transition gate. Get them as far away as possible immediately.』

Hart had no idea what Mira would do, but he was alarmed by Mira’s strong warning, which had never been seen before, and issued a strong order to the entire army.

[The Commander-in-Chief, Fleet Admiral Amakawa, orders the entire army at the highest priority. Immediately retreat from the transition gate on the Tenka side. The safe distance is unknown. Retreat to the planet Delphoi or near the Monarchy’s transition gate. All Forces, you may ignore the enemy. Do it now, top priority!]

The numerous glowing movements that illuminated the Apollo Star System are roughly divided into two types.

One is the Light of the Royal Army, which flows through the star system toward the Milky Way, the planet Delphoi, and the vicinity of theTransition Gate created by the Spirit Emperor Mira.

One is the light of the Tenka Army, which flows into the Daemon King’s Transition Gate as if the fleets scattered over a wide area of the star system are sucked into it.

As an exception to these, three Strategic Satellites of the Royal Army forcibly interrupted the Tenka stream and disappeared into the Daemon King’s transfer gate like being sucked in.

The Transition Gate of Tenka is not the spirit world, but the Daemon world, a high-dimensional space where the Daemon King exists.

After three giant celestial bodies containing the magic power of the Spirit Emperor Mira slammed into the Daemon world at lightning speed, a horrifying, beast-like female scream roared through Hart’s hearing.

Feeling a fear that had grabbed at his heart, Hart looked up at the screen in horror and saw a flash of intense light, as if a real supernova explosion had occurred, near where the enemy’s transition gate had been.

The flash of light emanating from inside the Daemon King’s Transition Gate quickly expanded and stained the entire screen of Fortress Kerviel white.

The Multidimensional Magic Element Conversion Observation Wave that reflects the magic element in the sector shines white in the vicinity where the transition gate on the Tenka side was located.

The light, which caused all instruments to white out, quickly spread to the surrounding space, swallowing up the nearby Tenka ships one after another. Every single Tenka vessel that came into contact with the tsunami of light was swallowed up by the giant light, transforming into a new ball of light.

Witnessing so many Tenka vessels being crushed every time they came into contact with the light, Hart repeatedly ordered the entire army.

[Commander-in-Chief Amakawa orders the entire army to evacuate at maximum speed and increase the shield power to the maximum. Ships that can break away from the allied transition gate should immediately retreat to the Diete System. Get as far away as possible.]

While Hurt was issuing warnings, the swollen light approached the Monarchy ships at a tremendous speed.

A huge tsunami of light swept over the Monarchy ships, which hurriedly turned their bows.

Eventually, the sphere of light reached the Monarchy warships, and just as it was about to swallow it into the light, green light shone after another on each shield of the Monarchy warship. A single thin green coat generated on each ship separated the approaching light sphere from the Monarchy ships and protected them.

The spheres of light that arose also reached the river of light and the green light-shrouded planet Delphoi, and they spread throughout the star system without crushing them.

The light that had swallowed up the entire Apollo system spread throughout the system and then gradually faded away.

When Hart regained his sight, he saw a flock of light like a swarm of fireflies. Centered around the Daemon King’s Transition Gate, a large amount of light large and small flowed uniformly under Mira.

The celestial light, which is orders of magnitude larger, was probably the Daemon King. Hart watched in silence as it was sucked into Mira.

“All enemy magic reactions have been extinguished. There is no reaction from the three Strategic Satellites.”

Bertrand was stunned as he reported this, and Hart looked at Mira.

Mira then looked back at Hart with a curious look on her face, as if to ask “is something wrong?”.

June 445 of the Monarchy Calendar

The Royal Army, which had destroyed the Tenka Federation Army that had invaded the Apollo Star System, won the Battle of the Apollo Star System.

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