Ten days had passed since we received the proclamation of war. We were steadily readying for it but there were two other things that we needed to do alongside it.
The first was to explain the situation to the citizens and adventurers staying in Avalon. If we didn’t do so properly, it would bite us later for if anyone was to suffer, it would be them. It was because these citizens trusted in me and Avalon that they chose to live here and even invite others to do so as well. To not take care of them meant the end of Avalon’s growth.
I had already explained the situation to the heads of the merchant and adventurer guilds but they and their guilds were not the only ones I was beholden to; I, as the city’s leader, was also obligated to explain it to the city’s other citizens.
The second we needed to do was to determine the rules of this war.
“I didn’t expect them to listen to my suggestions.”
After we received the neighboring city’s proclamation of war against us, I sent out a letter to them. The letter’s content suggested that both sides refrain from indiscriminately harming the civilians. It also suggested that both sides’ forces meet in a vast plain near Avalon at an agreed upon time to do clean and straight-forward battle.
This was greatly advantageous to both sides. If both sides did whatever we pleased, we might end up dealing great damage not only to our troops but to our citizens as well, perhaps to the point of annihilation.
“I’m really grateful for this; I don’t want to slaughter so many.”
The Avalon-Ritters I had shown might have been a great factor for them to agree to those suggestions, in that they were afraid we were going to let loose these golems within their city. If we did so, even if they managed to defeat the golems, the damage they would have sustained would be tremendous.
If they, for some reason, refused these suggestions, I planned to bombed them and finish it all at once. To the Darkness Dragons who could fly high in the air at the speed of sound, their city’s high walls of a few dozen meters meant nothing. The dragons could easily fly over the walls and drop countless napalm bombs, turning the enemy’s city into a sea of flames.
There were two reasons I didn’t want to go down this route.
The first was that doing so was a waste of DP. I would rather have the enemy soldiers be killed within my dungeon so that I could earn their DP.
The second reason was so that I could lessen the number of Avalon citizen casualties ever so slightly. Golems would be posted within Avalon even during the fighting but reducing the casualties to zero was pretty much impossible.
For those two reasons, I proposed that we do battle on the [Plain] I just made. The enemy agreed but to make certain they didn’t have any schemes as to why they easily agreed, I ordered the Ocean Singers to get to the bottom of things.
Through a certain method, the intelligence corps were now able to spy even the inside of the buildings that were protected by barriers. This world was very wary against magic but not so much against science so for someone like me who could use [Creation] to make things, taking advantage of such lack in security was easy.
So, through that method, we had determined something that the neighboring city was hiding. Through their connections, they had been able to gather thirty hero-class adventurers and that fact was most likely the source of their confidence.
However, for them to think they could defeat Avalon with just those 30 A-rank-equivalent soldiers, they were really making light of us. Rather than seeing those 30 individuals as threats, we viewed them as incentives to fight. After we have killed them, Wight could easily turn them into undead units. With his ability, those 30 would be much stronger than when they were alive. When placed under his command, they would be reinforced even more. I imagined the chance to obtain 30 undead units that were as strong as A rank monsters wouldn’t come very often.
Anyway, I planned on keeping the Ocean Singers posted on those buildings with high-quality barriers. Hopefully, they’ll be able to figure whatever else is happening behind the scenes…
“That’s one less thing to worry about. After that is to explain to the residents of Avalon the situation.”
I had already spread that I had something important to announce later on the day at the city’s largest open space. I intended to tell the ones gathered there the details of the war.
It was almost the scheduled time so I moved to the designated place and saw that quite a few people had already gathered. Like that, I climbed up to the stage.
Acting as my guards were Kuina who was at my side and Aura who turned herself transparent with her magic as she flew in sky. There was also R’lyeh Diva who hid herself in another dimension; her duty was to look out for other dimension-manipulating monsters.
“Ladies and gentlemen of Avalon, I am Procell, this city’s leader. Today, there is something important I must tell you all.”
Everybody’s attention was all on me.
And then, in the next moment, a song could be heard from somewhere. Of course, it was R’lyeh Diva’s song. Using the water around us as the medium, she had made dimensional windows that allowed only sound to escape from her side to ours.
Like so, as she watched out for any enemy monsters, she also continued to sing her soothing song. Of course, her song wasn’t for brainwashing the humans; it was for bringing them into a state of light intoxication and euphoria.
“Some of you might have already heard of it but days ago, Avalon had been advised to come under the rule of the empire! At first, I found no issue with it but the terms given to us were far too unfavorable. It’s the same as the neighboring city saying they will be turning this city and the ones that live here into their slaves!”
Due to their state of light intoxication, the citizens listened to me without a hitch; not one of them whispered a word.
“I was convinced of that after I saw the arrogant attitude of the delegation their city had dispatched. To think that even the very delegation that’s supposed to build ties with our two cities would act like that! If Avalon ever falls under the command of that city, everybody in this city would become miserable!!”
Avalon’s citizens nodded in agreement.
Me acting subservient to the delegation also served as preparation for this.
The delegation acting as they pleased obviously didn’t sit well with Avalon’s citizens and they directed that ill will toward the neighboring city.
“And so, I have decided. I have decided that I will fight for the happiness of everyone in this city!!”
I strongly declared so.
That said, that didn’t mean it was received with applauses.
“Does that mean that we’re going to fight as well? Against the neighboring city?”
A man asked so and was followed with agreeing comments from the others.
That was probably what they were concerned with the most: killing and being killed.
“Not at all. Aside from those that were first with me when this city was founded, I have no plans of letting anyone of you fight in this war. Furthermore, it has been agreed upon that the battlefield will be the vast plain outside the city. I would like for everyone to remain here where the city’s walls could protect them.”
As I said so, Avalon’s first citizens—the Mythological Foxes, Dwarf Smiths, and High Elves—stepped up to the stage as well.
We had explained to everyone else in this city that these girls were demi-humans instead of monsters.
As they saw the girls climb up, the city’s citizens made a bitter face. These children were all beautiful girls; had excellent skills that they used to continuously help out the citizens; and had built up bonds with the citizens from talking with each other a number of times. For those reasons, the citizens made those agonized faces at letting only those girls fight.
Another man then spoke up.
“I don’t want to let only those girls fight. Can’t we just surrender?”
“If we surrender, people like those soldiers from the other day would begin to come here every day and act as though they owned the place. Also, the taxes will increase five times more than what it is now. Many of you have probably moved here after experiencing a tough life from wherever you lived before but if we surrender, I guarantee you, it’ll only get worse. …worst of all, they advocate the discrimination against demi-humans. They’re going to turn these children into slaves! As the leader of this city, that is something I absolutely can’t let happen!”
I appealed to their emotions and it worked well thanks in part to the euphoria R’lyeh Diva induced. Thus, I pushed more.
“Nevertheless, I understand that some of you don’t want to be involved at all in this war. For those that want to leave before the fighting begins, we will set-up a help desk so please direct your application there. We will provide the applicants with compensation money and a ride on one of our golem-pulled carriages. We will be transporting you up to the neighboring city. We expect many to apply for this service so do keep your luggage light.”
Commotion rose from the crowd. They probably couldn’t believe that the leader of the city himself was offering to help people escape from the city.
In my opinion, if they wanted to leave, they were free to do so. If I didn’t prepare such an option for them, they would just complain later on that I forced them to stay in this city.
Plus, it affirmed my image that I prioritized the citizens of this city first and foremost.
After a while, a man raised his voice. I recognized him; he was the head of the adventurer guild.
“This city is an important location to us adventurers. The charge at the inn and the taxes, they’re all so cheap. We can also sell here the materials we got from the dungeon for a good, good price. Losing this place will be a blow to us. So, we have decided that we are willing to cooperate with you in this war. We will use our connections as much as we can and gather war potential… can we expect Procell-san to take care of their remuneration?”
At that, I smiled. For someone to have said as much, it made me quite happy.
“Thank you. We won’t ask you to fight for us but we do ask that you protect this city until the war’s end. As I’ve said, we have agreed that the battlefield will be the vast plain outside the city but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will stand by it and not come here to pillage. If that happens, I want to count on you. We will pay everyone’s asking price.”
“Are you really sure? We don’t mind fighting the enemy troops. We adventurers are stronger than the soldiers, you know.”
The representative of the adventurer guild looked slightly angered. Perhaps he mistook my response for me not believing in their strength.
“Adventurers are professionals on fighting monsters but aren’t as well-versed in killing people. However, those that would come to pillage aren’t people, they’re beasts. And beasts are fair game to you, right?”
The man from the adventurers’ guild nodded.
The next to speak up was a male merchant. It was Relic of his Relic Company. He was this city’s most successful merchant.
“We, the merchant guild of this city, would like to offer our financial support in this war. There is no need to hesitate on taking it. This city is like a tree that bears money for us so losing it is out of the question. Moreover, this city’s taxes are low. We would like to think of this financial aid as just the tax we haven’t paid.”
“Should a merchant really say it like that? Shouldn’t this financial aid be offered as a loan that will gain interest over time?”
“Fufu, that is indeed the case if the other party has been trying to lessen our profits. You are not like that though. You have always found ways for both of us to come out satisfied in a deal. Thanks to you, instead of a loss, we are gaining even more. For that, we would like to support you with all that we could.”
He said such a delightful thing.
“Thank you. Although it is only slight, there is still a chance that the war will be prolonged and that transportation through the air will become harder. Through the merchants here, I want to stock up on food and, when the war begins, provide it for free to the ones still within the city. Also, right when the war has ended, I wish to hold a celebration party. I shall take care of all those expenses.”
“Are you sure!?”
“Yes. Though the taxes here are cheap, we have gathered more than enough from everyone’s huge earnings.”
Our scale of collection differed greatly from other cities. Even with low taxes, we had collected a lot.
That being said, the heads of the adventurer and merchant guilds didn’t understand the source of our confidence. It would be natural for them to wonder that if we weren’t going to make use of adventurers, conscript the citizens of the city, and take the financial aid to pay for our soldiers, how then were we going to gather enough war potential.
“Now, you might be wondering how we’re going to fight without any of those offered help. To explain so, an introduction is in order. This will be Avalon’s war potential.”
One after another, the golems that the citizens had grown familiar with appeared. The ones that appeared numbered more than 300. The absurdity of it all left the citizens speechless.
“Everyone here is familiar with the golems but, in truth, the ones dispatched in the city are but a small fraction of their total number. Also, look above.”
I pointed my finger to the sky. Circling there were the huge-winged Darkness Dragons. I let them stay there because if they got close to the humans, their special ability, [Fear], might cause the humans to panic. The humans already didn’t know what to do as it was after seeing the huge black dragons that appeared only in fairy tales.
“I think you’re familiar with Hippogriffs that do the air transportation for us but they aren’t the only beings that Avalon has successfully tamed and trained; we have succeeded at these dragons as well. So, the golems, the dragons, and these children are going to fight for us. Even with just them, I am confident in winning. Avalon still has other fighting force aside from them but in order for it to not be revealed to the enemy city, it’ll have to remain a secret for now”
I forcefully declared so. Seeing the over 300 golems and frightening dragons, the citizens were relieved.
…at the same time, some would surely be too scared to remain here knowing that such frightening creatures were here. It can’t be helped, not like I can hide them when the fighting begins, I told myself.
“As you see, we can definitely win this war. Even if we lose, we have been promised that no civilians will be harmed. However, if we do lose and are forced to be under their command, life of all of us will definitely be harsher. To prevent that, I and these children will do our best and fight. I might be repeating myself here, but for those that want to leave this city, we have prepared compensation money and transportation. That’s all I have to say.”
With that, our forum was over and I descended the stage with Kuina and the others.
As I did, I wondered how many would remain. It would be great if more than 70% of the population stayed, I thought.
It took about three days to process the applications of those that wanted to leave the city.
The percentage that wanted to leave was less than 10% of the whole population. It was even better than what I expected and that put a smile on my face. It would seem Avalon was far more charming than I had thought.
“We have to absolutely win.”
To protect all those that remained;
To protect the place that the ones that left would someday return to;
And most of all, to live up to the trust that everyone has given to me.
Now, it’s time to show them what we’ve got.