Exit Fate - Part 13
- Last time on Exit Fate, we went to great risk to rescue Lord Shiro, famed war hero, from the currently Kirgard-controlled town of Blackwater. Mission complete, and we're off to see what else Bast has come up with.
Bast: Good to see you again, Shiro. I'm glad that you've all returned safely, but let's not waste any more time. Daniel, gather everyone here. It's time to make the final preparations.
Bast: Captain, you'll have to relay my plan to the rest of the State Army.
Erin: Of course.
Bast: Daniel, the Elysium army is going to play an essential role in this battle.
Daniel: Us? What is this role?
Bast: Let's start at the beginning. The Kirgard 2nd Legion counts around 20,000 men. The Matrech Guard currently outnumbers them with a little over 25,000 men. But those numbers mean nothing. They're on the defensive, and we can't afford big losses. The whole Kirgard Royal Army is still larger than the whole State Army. But, we also have the Elysium army, and I want to make good use of that. Daniel, I'll need to borow 500 of your men. It doesn't really matter who, as long as they're a good team and I can trust them to follow my orders to the letter.
Daniel: That won't be a problem.
Bast: Also, I need as many military transport ships as possible, as well as a group of civilian volunteers. A few hundred would be enough. Don't worry, they won't come to any harm.
Erin: The volunteers won't be an issue, and I'll see what I cna do about those ships. When will you be needing them?
Bast: Whenever this operation commences, which means as soon as possible. Now, this is what the situation's like. About 10,000 of Keyser's forces are stationed in Mayfall City itself. The rest are spread out over various points, but only two are of importance. There are roughly 5000 men at the Mayfall River bridge north of the city, and another 2500 at the camp near Blackwater. Now, to be victorious, we only need to do two things: to capture Mayfall City, and capture Keyser himself. Conveniently, they're both in the same place. So, let's move on to the plan. Everything revolves around drawing as many troops away from Mayfall City as possible. The State Army will mobilize and march on to capture Amen Corner. This shouldn't pose any problems. The Elysium Army will stay there temporarily, while the State Army moves on to the Mayfall River bridge. Being a location of great strategic value, Keyser will definitely send the Blackwater troops to the bridge, and maybe even some of his own. The more, the better, as it's only mean to distract them. Once the Kirgard reinforcements are on their way, Elysium will move out as well and head straight for Mayfall City. At that point, I estimate both sides will be equal in numbers, but Keyser's troops will still have the advantage. That's why we have to make them split up even more. That's where I come in. As long as you all follow these orders, I will take the care of the rest.
Erin: Are we supposed to make a serious effort in taking the bridge?
Bast: It doesn't matter. Even if they realize it's only a distraction, they can't abandon it. Press on hard enough that they can't let up, but don't strain yourself.
Erin: Very well.
Bast: Do you have any questions, Daniel?
Daniel: Not at all, our role is perfectly clear. I have faith in your ability to handle the rest.
Bast: Oh, I certainly do. You'll be serving another use, Shiro. I'll tell you what I have in mind later. All right. If everything's clear, then go get everything in order. I want to leave as soon as we can.
- A moment to rearrange our party, and we're off!
Bast: Keyser won't know what hit him. I will inform the State Army. We'll move out as soon as they're ready. It's too late for regrets now, Colonel. This is going to be a historical battle.
Keyser: So, they have finally begun to make their move.
Soldier: It's just like you predicted. They're trying to take the bridge first.
Soldier: General! We can't afford to lose the bridge! If we do, they'll be able to attack this city from the north and south at the same time.
Keyser: Don't tell me things I already know. What about the Elysium Army? Are they on the move as well?
Soldier: According to our last reports, they're still at Amen Corner. We have no idea what they might be up to.
Keyser: Hmm... The attack on the bridge... it's most likely a distraction. They're trying to draw our forces away from the city. But even if that's the case, we have no choice but to send reinforcements. Colonel Erickson can't hold the bridge by himself. Have all men at the Blackwater camp help defend the bridge. Everyone else will stay here at Mayfall City. We'll have more than enough troops left here to defend ourselves against any other attacks.
Soldier: Understood, General.
Jasper: There was little resistance here. The State Army has already left towards the bridge according to Sir Gunwood's plans. I will be following them soon.
Daniel: Good. We'll move out shortly afterwards.
Jasper: The remaining Kirgard troops have all withdrawn from this area. You should have a clear march to the city.
Daniel: I can't say I don't feel a little uneasy, though. Last time we were here, we thought wwe had the upper hand too.
Ayara: But this time we have Bast on our side!
Daniel: That's true. We'll just have to trust him.
Ljusalf: I wonder what he's planning... Not even we were informed about it.
Daniel: We've all been given our tasks. We don't need to know how Bast intends to win the battle. He knows that the success of this mission depends on Keyser being unaware of our plans. The fewer people know about it, the lower the chance of leaks.
Jasper: Even his presence itself has been a closely guarded secret. Within the Matrech Guard, only a handful are aware of it. He's very serious about this, but the captain has given him her full cooperation, so we'll do exactly as he asks.
Daniel: As we should. We didn't bring him back from retirement to interfere with his plans. I have confidence in Bast's skills. He's the only one who could outsmart Keyser.
Jasper: We won't meet again until the battle is over. Good luck, Colonel.
Daniel: You too.
Keyser: According to these scout reports, all known Elysium officers are openly present. There's no one missing... except Shiro.
Soldier: There were reports that Lord Shiro was wounded during the escape from Blackwater Port, and as such is unable to fight.
Keyser: That's a false rumor meant to trick us. I'm sure we'll hear of him soon enough.
Soldier: A large fleet of transport ships has gathered together at the shore north of the city! We believe the State Army may be using them to transport troops!
Keyser: Transport ships? Is that how they intend to get around our defenses?
Soldier: There's twelve ships in total. If every one of them carries four hundred men, we're looking at almost five thousand in total!
Soldier: What!? With that many, we'll be forced to split up our army and fight on two fronts.
Keyser: Are there really soldiers on those ships, or...
Soldier: Hundreds of men are disembarking from the ships! And Lord Shiro is among them!
Soldier: Shiro!? So that's what he was doing!
Soldier: General! It's obvious now! We must act!
Keyser: This doesn't match my analysis. At this point, the State Army couldn't spare five thousand men for as long as the trip would take. Putting them on unarmed transports leaves them highly vulnerable, and they'd be unavailable to defend the capital if there was an attack during transit. Moreover, Shiro's absence was too obvious. Even if he was wounded, they'd have taken him along just to give the impression nothing was wrong. This isn't right. There can't be any soldiers on those ships.
Soldier: How much more evidence do you need, General!?
Soldier: Yes! How can you say there are no soldiers? You were wrong when you said they wouldn't try to rescue Shiro either! Even if we split up our army, we have more than enough men to win on both fronts! There's no point in taking this risk!
Keyser: Something's wrong. Something's wrong, but... We must protect the city. Send the fourth and sixth divisions to the north to intercept the landing party. I will take the main force to the south gates to meet the Elysium army.
Soldier: Yes, sir. We'll move out at once.
Daniel: I'll make you regret those words, General.
Keyser: Hmm... We've nearly lost our superiority in numbers, but this is still a hopeless battle for them. I'm convinced there's something more to this attack. They will not be making a regular frontal attack. Adjust the formation and spread out to encircle them!
- This battle's a little tough, mainly due to their numbers, but we can handle it. (I think.)
Soldier: The Zelmony landing forces retreated when we got close and are avoiding battle!
Keyser: So... it was a trick after all!?
Soldier: S-Sir! Movement detected in the forest to the south!
Keyser: That voice... it can't be...
Bast: Long time no see, Keyser. Daniel! We're taking his remaining army head-on! That's the last thing he's expecting!
Keyser: You... You fooled me again! Quick! Order the fourth and sixth division to return from the north! We must hold out as long as possible!
- So far, so good...
- Not my best victory, but I suppose it'll do...
Bast: Sorry, old buddy. Looks like it's over for you.
Keyser: Damn you, Gunwood... Everyone! Retreat!
Daniel: We... We did it.
- Time to find General Keyser and end this!
- The rare weightless armor. Very, very handy.
- Now, where could Keyser be hiding...
Keyser: So... have you come to laugh at me? Keyser, the Undefeatable, losing to a mere traitor and a ghost from the past? Suffering a humiliating defeat in a battle that was considered impossible to lose.
Keyser: It was a fatal mistake to come here in person! If we capture you, we still have a chance!
- If there's one thing you can say about Keyser, it's that he knows how to use formation to his advantage. The way his soldiers are arranged, it's tricky to hit more than two at once with a spell.
- Unfortunately, the spell that works best against the soldiers is also an all-hit.
- They go down quickly enough, leaving six of us to deal with Keyser.
- Less than impressive, honestly.
Keyser: I... I don't believe this...
Bast: That's the way it is, Keyser. Nobody is undefeatable. Your fame and reputation worked in your favor up until now, but it also meant your downfall. You couldn't win against someone you weren't aware of.
Keyser: The Royal Army is still stronger, and we still hold Helman Island. We are far from defeated.
Daniel: You're wrong, General. I know how high your reputation in the Royal Army was. This is more than the defeat of a single general. It's a clear sign that the State Army can stand up to Kirgard. All we want is an end to this war. This battle may well send a signal to Kirgard that the price of this land is not worth paying. Everything may end here.
Keyser: Nothing will end, Vinyard. It may stop for a week, a month, a year... but it will never end, until either country falls.
Bast: But one thing's for sure. It's over for you. All right. It's time to clean up the city. Take the general prisoner... but treat him with respect.
Erin: Bast, we are all in your debt. A victory like this would've been impossible without your help.
Bast: It wasn't just my doing. All of you carried out my plan flawlessly. It was an excellent effort by everyone.
Daniel: What about the bridge, Captain? Is it under out control as well now?
Erin: Yes. The enemy put up heavy resistance at first, but once the news about the fall of Mayfall City reached them, everything fell apart quickly. The commander there managed to escape with most of his men, but it's not a great loss. The important part is that we've liberated Mayfall.
Shiro: It was a resounding success on all accounts. Everyone involved desrves a part of the glory.
Erin: Governor Miller!
Miller: Ah, Captain Erin. You've done excellent work. I can't express how happy I am to see you all here. Oh... and you must be the commander of the Elysium Army?
Daniel: Yes, I'm Colonel Vinyard. I'm glad to see you're all right, Governor.
Miller: The colonel and I are both fine, thankfully. We've been through a tough time, but thanks to you all, it'll all be back to normal soon.
Merrick: We're going to take back Helman Island, right? Kirgard must be in chaos now. We'll never get an opportunity like this again!
Daniel: That's a really bad idea. With this defeat, Kirgard may lose hope for the war altogether. We shouldn't risk prolonging the conflict over a place as disputed as Helman Island.
Merrick: What!? You're saying we should just hand the island over to Kirgard!? They started this war! We can't let them get away with this!
Erin: Enough, Colonel. This is not the time and place to discuss these matters.
Bruce: That bastard! He did it! He beat us! We had to run for our lives! It was all for nothing! The general, he... Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!
Leonius: Calm down, Colonel! What happened?
Bruce: The general, he was defeated! I don't know exactly what happened, but we lost Mayfall City and he was captured by the State Army.
Bruce: I don't know! We were defending the Mayfall River bridge against the Matrech Guard, when we suddenly got the news that the city had fallen. I don't get it at all. How could this happen?
Leonius: Colonel Erickson, if General Keyser will not return, then I will temporarily take command over the remaining forces of the second legion.
- Yes, but will anyone take you seriously? OTL
Leonius: Since General Knight is busy himself, it will be up to me to determine our next move, but I'm going to need some assistance with that.
Bruce: Let me do it! I'll take revenge for the general!
Leonius: Very well. Let us get to work immediately. We're going to be needing the assistance of another group of people...
Daniel: It's good news. The chancellor has no desire to continue fighting, and there are no plans to attack Helman Island in the near future.
Ljusalf: I suppose it was inevitable, seeing as the chancellor and Captain Erin both agreed, but I'm sure not everyone was too happy about that.
Daniel: No, there were many voices calling for immediate action, but most of the army staff understands that Kirgard is far from defeated. Even among the ones who want to take back the island, most recognize that it's by no means an easy task.
Ayara: So as long as Kirgard doesn't attack us again, the war will be over...
Daniel: Yes, but we can't count on that, unfortunately. But since Keyser's defeat was unexpected, I doubt they'll move again on short term. They'll probably have to rewrite all their plans.
Ljusalf: I see. So... you'll finally have time for that other matter?
Daniel: That's right. That's the other thing I discussed at Matrech. I've received permission to enter the Oischin state. Now that there's a temporary peace, I'll finally have time to go there.
Col: Oischin? What do you want to do there, sir?
Daniel: The Oischin state is home to Faraday University, the largest university on the continent. The reason I want to go there is because there's research being done on human memory. As you all may know, I have the feeling that certain memories of my past are missing. It's something that has been bothering me greatly as of late. I'm going to Faraday to speak with the headmistress of the university and see if there's any way they can help me.
Ayara: I hope you'll find out what's troubling you, sir.
Ljusalf: It's not certain that they'll have a solution, but it's worth trying. I would like to accompany you. I'm curious about what's afflicting you, and I'd also like to see this university.
Daniel: I thought you'd want to come, Ljusalf. You're welcome, of course.
Daniel: As usual, I have no idea what you're talking about.
Yan Angwa: It's not important that you understand. Now, are you going? Then I'll come as well.
Daniel: Fine, fine. Do what you want.
- On that note, we'll end this chapter of Exit Fate. What will Daniel discover about his past... and will he like what he learns? What new challenges will develop in regards to the war with Kirgard? Will the second legion take General Leonius seriously at all? There's only one - well, two - ways to find out!