Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
As the company commander gave the orders from aboard the ship, the long-range blast cannons spewed out fire. A few seconds after the booming roar, the sky lit up in the distance.
They were at the eastern tip of Dream Maker, firing cannons at the monsters coming from the north. Meanwhile, most of the warships had already arrived at the harbor.
『All ships in position! The water level’s higher than normal, but it’s within acceptable range!』
『Path connected across the fleet! We can begin transferring the first batch!』
『Good. First batch of five hundred, move!』
Grucel was the one taking command at the harbor. The soldiers dispersed, leaving only Gin, Dolan, and Zuzun behind. The other two company commanders took charge of the bombardment and fleet’s movement, respectively.
『Phew. Finally, I can relax.』
Gin’s role was to ensure that communications with Dream Maker stayed intact. He was even specially promoted to company commander to give him authority over comms, but the responsibility was too much for him.
The revolt occurred as expected, and monsters were attacking. The fact that the fleet made it in time meant Gin did his job well.
『Our mission is not yet over.』
『Well… you’re right, Sir.』
Looking down from the bridge, the men saw more than three hundred people gathered on the harbor under the dawning sky. Ten thousand people—the nation’s total population—would soon arrive here. Extracting them quickly was crucial.
『The revolt we had anticipated, but to think monsters actually showed up…』Grucel said in his usual stern face.
『I was surprised too. Just how much of this did Silver Face predict to happen?』
『Thanks to him, it looks like we’ll be able to avoid the worst-case scenario.』
『If you ask me, monsters attacking is already the worst-case scenario.』Dolan muttered.
『That’s not true. We would’ve been able to stop the rebellion before it happened even without Silver Face around. But we didn’t expect a monster invasion. If we managed to quell the rebellion and contain the chaos to a minimum, a month later—or perhaps even a year—the attack would’ve been at a bigger scale.』
『And how he guessed all that in the short time he’s been here is beyond me.』
『He seems to see things that we can’t. The monsters attacking is proof of that. A raid by multiple Yamamaneki has never happened before in the history of our nation. His idea to use the rebellion as a means to induce the attack was right.』
『So if we prevented the revolt, the attack would’ve proceeded as originally planned, which meant a lot more Yamamaneki would’ve marched here and destroyed the walls in an instant.』
『What’s more, we would’ve been unprepared. Even if a lot more monsters attacked now, our conditions are favorable as we’re ready to evacuate.』
While the three men understood Grucel’s explanation, they didn’t seem completely satisfied. This was all because they had no idea what Silver Face saw or what went on in his mind.
『Let’s move. Now is the time to take action.』
The three left the bridge.
The bells did not stop ringing. The citizens, realizing this was the real thing and not a drill, surged towards the harbor. In the event of an emergency, the gathering place would be the harbor, not the center of the city.
『Don’t push! Follow instructions once you’re on board!』
『That’s it for the first group. The second group will enter through there.』
Dust rose in the air as citizens flocked to the dimly-lit harbor. Some still had their pajamas on, while very few actually carried luggage. The fact that they were able to walk in line without shouting was a result of countless drills.
『Monsters are attacking apparently.』
『Where are we going anyway?』
『Looks like we’ll have enough food.』
No one could stop the citizens from talking among each other in whispers, however. Those who evacuated without a moment’s delay—the well-trained one, in a sense—made it to the deck before anyone else, relieved.
The deck was loaded with supplies that would seemingly be able to feed everyone for a month. It was Grucel who arranged for the goods to be displayed outside to give people peace of mind.
『Hmm. Are we moving to the next ship?』
『Look. The ships are connected all the way to the other side.』
『I see. Rather than switching ships one by one, it’s faster to just load the farthest ship first.』
The ships were docked side-by-side, connected by makeshift bridges. Impressed, the citizens proceeded farther and farther. Floating on the river, the ships swayed a bit, but people walked on without much worry.
『Wait, this is the last ship, right?』
『Why are we getting off?』
『It’s the southern side of the river from here. I believe it’s nothing but an empty wasteland.』
Beyond the farthest ship was a land that the citizens had never set foot on even once since they were born.
The first light of the day appeared on the eastern horizon. Indeed, the desolate stretch of land could only be described as “empty”.
Rocky mountains towered here and there, but otherwise the ground was bare, with no sign of vegetation except on the riverbank.
A staircase that went down to the temporary landing had been placed, and more than a dozen wagons waited below.
『You’re holding the line.』a soldier said.『Please move.』
『No, no, no. Are you serious?! There’s nothing in the southern lands! Don’t tell me you found a place for people to live?!』
『Something like that.』
The citizens in the front exchanged doubtful glances. Evacuees were swarming behind them. While the warships were big, they could not carry all ten thousand citizens at once. So what would they do?
『I guess we’re moving by land, not water.』
The soldier nodded, and the people in the front seemed convinced—or rather, they had no other choice but to trust the authorities.
The crowd streamed down the stairs and onto the wagons, each loaded fully. Even in such a situation, they let the elderly, women, and children sit down, an etiquette unique to the people of Dream Maker who had established themselves as a small community.
『First group, first batch. All set!』
The wagons started moving, carrying with them the citizen’s fears. They had talked a lot on the ship, but as soon as they boarded the wagons, they became quiet. No one knew exactly what was going on, and when they asked the soldiers, they only gave scripted answers.
『Emergency evacuation means we’re evacuating because of an emergency.』
『All citizens will evacuate, no exceptions.』
『You can return to your homes once it’s safe.』
Hearing those last words, everyone seemed satisfied. The army had fought and killed countless monsters before. It came with heavy amounts of sacrifice, of course. There hadn’t been any crisis that they hadn’t overcome. It was only natural, then, that the people thought they could return to their homes after a few days.
『We’re almost there.』a driver said.
『We’ve only been on the road for half an hour.』
There was a stir inside the wagons. Eventually, the vehicles stopped, and the first citizens disembarked.
A huge rock mountain loomed before them. Countless simple tents were erected behind the mountain, hiding them from sight. After unloading all the passengers, the wagons immediately returned to the harbor. The people seemed confused, not sure what to do. That’s when Gin, standing on a raised platform, spoke.
『Thank you all for your cooperation. You will all be living here for a month at the longest. But please rest assured. We have three months’ worth of food, and as you can see, no monsters will attack you here.』
The citizens had a hunch that they would be living here, but the moment someone actually told them that, fear and worry came crashing on them. They would be staying in the middle of nowhere for a month.
『I understand your displeasure, but please listen.』Gin spread his arms wide and raised his voice once.『Half of the total population, five thousand people, will be staying here. The rest will travel by sea.』
Everyone stared at Gin, thinking: “We’re being separated?” Gin, although nervous, tried to act calm and confident.
『Once half of the population has been transported, the ships will return for us. We will meet again in the maritime nation of Vireocean in Primeval.』