Chapter 36 – Formation of the Crusaders
The west-half of the Arc continent was controlled by the Syncrea Republic. In the port town that was the 5th biggest even among the various huge dominions under the republic, the new Magic Battleship [Gargantia] was anchored.
Built through combining the latest magic techniques, this battleship had scared the spectators, which had come to look at it during its unveiling, through the sheer size of the ship.
Size was always linked with strength. Especially in this different world where ferocious monsters lived, ‘hugeness’ was the easiest proof of strength.
But, not a single emotion could be seen in the eyes of Sariel who was looking at [Gargantia] through the window of a certain room.
For someone who held the strength of an apostle, it was not impossible to sink such a state-of-the-art giant battleship by herself.
No, those shining ruby eyes would not waver no matter what she faced.
That was what the Archbishop known as Ryuchrom (T/N: リュクロムsuggest a better name) thought silently in his heart.
“Lord Sariel, how is it? The pride of the navy – magic battleship [Gargantia]?”
Sariel moved her sight away from the window and looked towards Ryuchrom.
A tall, slender figure of a handsome young man reflected in her red eyes.
White skin, blonde hair and blue eyes; he possessed the typical features of a resident of the Republic but, every part of his body that made him seemed more perfect than others. Loose wavy blonde hair along with the marine blue eyes and a sharp nose made him look so beautiful that he might be mistaken for a woman
And when he wore the gorgeously decorated white clothes befitting of an archbishop, anyone who believed in the church would not doubt that he was divine being of god.
That beauty truly held an unparalleled charm.It was on a level where any woman who saw him on the street would instantly become a prisoner of his beauty, but,
What came out of Sariel’s mouth was a very simple thought.
As he himself thought that as expected, even when Sariel was faced with a beauty of his level, there was not even a single trace of emotions in those eyes. In the first place, for Sariel, outer appearance of a person was nothing more than a means to differentiate between people. She had no feelings that could make her judge a person’s beauty or ugliness.
Ryuchrom didn’t know whether this was the [Equality] that was preached by the church or that she simply didn’t possess any emotions at all.
“Is that so? I shall convey it to the officers that Lord Sariel had complimented it.”
Sariel once again returned her gaze outside the window.
Whether those eyes were looking at the battleship, or the port, or maybe the sea, no, it could be that she was looking even beyond the horizon.
(“This lady really never changes. It’s as if the time in her body is not moving. But due to the ‘restraint tool ring’ removed, I can feel an even immense divinity from her……….It seems I’ll end up being ‘charmed’ by her instead.”)
Although have been acquainted in the past, the reason they were both here together was because a new title was added to their existing [7th Apostle] and [Archbishop].
They were [Crusaders Supreme Commander] and [Crusaders Vice Commander].
The [Crusaders] were an army organised to deal with threats and to realize the will of their god. They were different from the army stationed inside the country.
200 years ago, the Crusaders were set after a large army of heretics had invaded the holy city Elysion.
(Anyone would think that they were stuck with an unpleasant duty.)
The objective this time to ‘conquer the Pandora continent’ is being currently dissented inside the republic.
The reason is definitely something not humane as ‘opposition against plundering of other people’s land’ but very simple economic reasons.
To make the Pandora continent a land for humans, they first had to exterminate the demons living there. Just how much money and lives would be required to fulfil that task? At the very least, even commoners were aware of the cost that would be incurred just in crossing the sea for a large expedition.
(But, His Highness Cardinal Ars saw this formation of the Crusaders as a chance. Even I think that it’s a disadvantageous gamble but——)
What came into Ryuchrom’s minds were the words spoken by the most trusted man, that is, Cardinal Ars.
“He nominated the 7th Apostle Sariel as the supreme commander of the Crusaders. If acknowledged, the conquest of the Pandora continent is almost certain.”
And the Pope approved of it, and also acknowledged by the Republic’s parliament, Lord Sariel was officially appointed as the Supreme Commander.
(“Being told that much, I had no objections anymore.”)
Accepting Ars’ idea, Ryuchrom announced candidacy for the post of Vice Commander. There would be no rival candidates that way.
The final total count of the Crusaders stood at 15,000. Historically speaking, it was probably the smallest amount of Crusaders ever.
What that fact meant, Ryuchrom didn’t even have to think about it as he spoke to Sariel.
“It will take about 1 week from here to get to Virginia it seems.”
As Sariel looked back, she followed Ryuchrom line of sight towards the map spread upon the table.
Thanks to the help of magic it was possible to make a map as accurate as the ones in present times but the one in front of them was a simple one made with drawn lines.
That implied that accurate distance and details were not available. That was none other than a map of the yet unexplored Pandora continent.
On that Pandora continent, the only place occupied by the Republic was the port town of [Virginia].
The rias coastline that had developed on the east side of the continent made for a natural good harbour, and was thus ideal terrain to be used as a base for travelling between the 2 continents.
“It will take about 1 month to complete the preparations for transporting the 15,000 man army and all other goods.”
During the time when the settlement and establishment of Virginia was started, the invasion of the Pandora continent had already started and the catchphrase –‘Pandora is a paradise filled with riches’ made a lot of dreamers cross the sea to settle there.
Also receiving funds from the country and the church, the establishment of Virginia was proceeding smoothely.
With the development of the port and residential area, in just a half-year Virginia developed from just a fishing village to a proper Port town. And thus after creating a proper base, they finally began the invasion with military strength.
As per the information, the army that departed from Virginia at that time had about 2000 soldiers, and their aim was a fortress city called [Daidalos].
As to why they attacked [Daidalos] which boasted strong defence with just 2000 men, it cannot be known anymore. Because the commander of that army who was also a high ranking knight with a court rank, acted as a part of the vanguard and was tragically annihilated along with his whole unit.
“It’ll be good if Virginia is not destroyed by Daidalos until the preparations here are completed, no, at least till I and Lord Sariel arrive there in 1 week by the Gargantia.”
And the war made by those 2000 men on Daidalos was the reason the Republic was in the state of war at present.
Basically, due to underestimating the ‘army of demons’ of Daidalos, the army took over 1200 casualities which was a crushing defeat in the history of the Republic.
According to the report of the survivors, the Daidalos army had the king, a black dragon, at its head, and included races like Orcs, Werewolfs, golems, Cyclops, and others that held much more power than humans. Furthermore, their army was more than 10 times in number. In front of overwhelming strength and numbers, there was nothing that could be done.
After that, Daidalos had put Virginia under a siege but they did not break into the city itself and in few weeks returned back.
Virginia was built as a strong fort thanks to the supply of funds that was still continuing, so the Daidalos army must have found it dangerous to uselessly come close to it.
From then up till now, Daidalos has sent various messengers to Virginia asking to leave their country, and have deployed scouts to observe the situation.
Virginia has given no response for the past half year. It’s only a matter of time before Daidalos resorts to use of strength. That is why Daidalos could march into Virginia before Sariel and Ryuchrom reach 5there in 1 week.
“Virginia will not fall.”
Sariel said that in a small voice as if she was speaking to herself but it held clear confidence.
“The conquest of Pandora continent is wished by the White God, it shall be accomplished without fail.”(Sariel)
“Yes, it is as you say Lord Sariel.”
That was neither a joke nor façade. As she had said, the conquest of the Pandora Continent was wished by God.
Was the reason why she could say that with such confidence was because she was an Apostle? Or maybe do you reach such a state of mind when you sacrifice yourself to piety?
It was not a problem of faith. It was much simpler. Anyone of the church could understand Sariel’s words.
After all, it was literally ‘told by the god himself’.
And it was called an [Oracle].
The oracle that came to the church one year ago was,
“Conquer Pandora continent as a sacrifice.”
And thus the Republic crossed the sea, landed on the Pandora continent and built Virginia.
The Syncrea Republic who has taken the Church as the state religion, the oracle is not something they can ignore. No matter how disadvantageous it may be, they have to fulfil it with the best of their efforts.
The church has been following the oracles no matter how much difficulty it may bring, without even considering whether it was right or wrong from the very start. And now they had become a faith large enough to possess the whole west half of the Arc continent.
This time, due to the giant army of Daidalos, the conquest of Pandora continent was interrupted and when it seemed that it might stay like that indefinitely, they received the oracle again.
“Conquer Pandora continent as a sacrifice.”
Exactly the same as before, no change in even the words.
Having received the same oracle twice, they could not give up like this anymore. They needed to put in even greater efforts.
If they were to use the whole nation’s power, they would be able to conquer the Pandora continent.
But, to the Syncrea republic and the church, rather than a savage backwards land, the Arc continent where they have been living was more important.
They could not just leave the Republic which held half the continent just like that for that would result the decline of the country, and fall in the power of their God.
Due to this thought process, the conquering of the Pandora continent was to be done with force without losing the authority in the Arc continent, was what the church decided as the official opinion towards the [oracle].
(“Will be become the sacrifice for gods, or will we get a miraculous victory and become heroes—–“)
No one could predict the result of this oracle.
These 15,000 Crusaders were nothing but proof that the will of the God has been followed, that is, they were simply sacrifices, the maximum amount of soldiers the Republic could afford to lose.
But still, if the Crusaders led by Sariel break through the Daidalos army, the whole situation would be reversed.
The whole 15,000 man army including Ryuchrom himself were relying on the words of Ars. If they were able to conquer Daidalos, and take the one big step on the Pandora continent, the profits and advantages that will be earned by the top of the Crusaders aka Ars are uncomparable.
The Crusaders have almost no chance of winning, but in exchange, if they won, the returns are amazing.
For Ars it is a big gamble with his life on the line, but only Ryuchrom and the people around him realize this. Ars himself was already assured of victory the moment he put Sariel on the seat of the commander.
(“——the die has been cast already. All I have to do is just give my all to lead the Crusaders to victory.”)
Rychrom did not have any regrets. No matter how difficult the situation was, under Ars, he was protected and served him and as a result he became an archbishop today.
It’s the same even now. All I have to do is execute Ars’ commands, and,
(“Lord Sariel, for the Cardinal Ars that has faith in you, I shall put my faith in you as well.”)
Rychrom swore to dedicate all his faith towards Sariel.
And thus, leading the 15,000 Crusaders, 7th Apostle Sariel crossed the seas towards the Pandora continent.
This day, the 4th day of the month of Ryokufuu(Early-summer breeze), was also the fateful day when Kurono met Lily for the first time.