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Rerudya, Opesagyr 5th;
A little over a month has passed since Nai'a arrived in St. Croix, met her Ingodijan counterpart, and informed the Soleilians of the coming of allies. Even with the entire Soleilian army on edge waiting for their allies to show up, things were starting to look up: they had received word that the Yamato Imperial Navy and Silver Arrow Armada had rescued the civilian hostages on the Umdari ships and broken the blockade, securing a supply route by sea. With the blockade dispersed, the first logistical shipments from Lune, in the form of food, weapons and money, had arrived just days ago, providing even more relief to both the Soleilian Army and the civilians.
Aerial scouts had also reported that the Northern Allies, along with a legion of rebel Soleilians, were approaching. Thankfully, the Umdari battalions still didn't seem to know, but the only real sign that they didn't was that they still weren't moving. Everyone knew that the day of battle was nearing.
Nai'a had taken up temporary residence in an inn, for which she stayed for free due to her status as a lunaculus. Nai'a was now wearing warmer clothes consisting of a red long-sleeve wool sweater with a vest over it and wool pants, due to the days becoming colder as autumn set in. She also, though she complained, wore boots to keep her feet warm. And yet, all the while, she was having to deal with bridging the distance between the two Soleilian royal sisters.
"I'm telling you, no matter what she tries, Nadia won't listen to Veronica," said Nai'a as she practiced her new-found powers in Swyll'zhor's temple with Ganesh. A week after arriving in St. Croix, Nai'a had discovered she had a few water-based abilities. She could freeze water, manipulate it, heat it, boil it, and turn it into gelatin or crystal. Nai'a was currently trying to crystallize it, a feat that was proving very difficult since her dormant abilities had been sitting unused for so long.
"The problem is broken trust. Such damage is not repaired overnight," said Ganesh as the water Nai'a was trying to crystallize fell to the floor with a splash. "Joodu hu leu uh lobmo roozto. [A long way to go.]"
"If only I had discovered these powers years ago. And why do I have them anyway? I don't know of any mermaid or merman that has these powers."
"It's because you're a lunaculus," said Tallulah, who just walked into the room. "In addition to powers they are sometimes born with, all lunaculi develop unique powers that set them apart from others, even their native people."
"Is that something you made up for us too? Do you decide what powers we get?"
"No, it happens at random; I have no control over it. But you're not the first Maritymiri lunaculus to have powers of that particularity. What?"
"I notice you're still wearing that scanty attire from when we first met. It's autumn now, aren't you cold like that?"
"Of course not, immortals don't get cold; you wouldn't even sweat in the ka eho rye i jahame! [fire pits of hell!]" Nai'a snapped, the last part in Waikikese.
"I do too sweat," Tallulah replied calmly.
"Please, you practically glow. I wouldn't be surprised if you never have to bathe!"
"Omkuu, omkuu, [Now, now,]" Ganesh said in Ingdjese.
"Meanwhile, I'm having to cover my feet with the days getting colder, and I hate wearing shoes!"
"You're not wearing shoes, those are boots," said a priest.
"O kare na kaoe! [Whatever!] Anyway, about Nadia and Veronica-"
"It's a family matter. I highly recommend you stay out of it," said Ganesh.
"But there's a big battle coming up in a matter of days, if they can't work together the entire army could fall into disarray on the battlefield."
"I have to agree with Nai'a," said Tallulah. "But it's a teenage siblings' problem, and I can relate: I used to fight with my own sister, not that I do so anymore. See what you can do." Tallulah left for the inner sanctum without another word.
"She said her sister's name was Xyliana? Where is she anyway?" Nai'a asked.
"I've yet to meet her in this lifetime. She usually keeps to the shadows," Ganesh said simply with a slight shrug.
Later that evening, Nai'a thought of a way to get Nadia to make up with Veronica and called her to a steam bath.
"Alright, Nai'a. What did you call me here for?" Nadia asked when she walked naked into the steam room. The first thing she saw after asking was Nai'a and Veronica, also naked, sitting on the bench holding birch besoms.
"Fujji, [Hi,]" Veronica said cheerfully in Gallic.
"I thought the three of us could enjoy a steam bath together," said Nai'a, who was wearing her bracelet to keep herself from changing.
"I don't have time for-" Nadia started as she turned to leave, but she heard the lock click. She tried to open the door again but it wouldn't budge. Someone had locked the door from the outside. "Xa fuqr xuq domjirror. [You plotted this.]"
"I prefer the term 'arranged,'" Nai'a replied. She had learned a bit of Gallic during her time in St. Croix, not enough to speak it herself but enough to understand. Nadia had no choice and sat down on Nai'a's other side, and stared off in the other direction. "Okay... an awkward silence is not what I was going for."
"What's with this casual thing? We're just days away from a battle, how can you relax?"
"We're just trying to calm our nerves," said Veronica.
"Why do we need to be in a steam bath? And you're the last person I want to bathe with in any way."
"They say you have to be naked to hear the naked truth. And you and I took baths together all the time."
"That was years ago. I'm not a little girl anymore. Though I'm sure daddy dearest would be more than happy," Nadia added spitefully.
"For the love of the Sun God, Nadia!" Veronica snapped, standing up and going to kneel in front of Nadia. "Baby sister, qwfua kywf ul. Qwfua kywf ul! [look at me. Look at me!]" Nadia gave in and looked at Veronica. "Baby sister, how long are going to delude yourself into thinking that I'm not on your side?!"
"This isn't going well at all," Nai'a thought.
"How many times over since I became a commanding officer have I proven that I'm loyal to our cause, loyal to you? You can't judge me by what Germain did; Germain is no father of mine. I know perfectly well what he's like, and never once since you were born have I thought of him as my father. Look me in the eye and try to say I'm lying."
Nadia looked hard, her expression determined to catch Veronica's eyes lying. But to Nai'a and Veronica's satisfaction, her expression turned to surprise.
"You... you really are-" Nadia started, but Veronica cut her off
"Have I ever once lied to you?" Veronica asked, sitting next to Nadia
"There was the time you broke one of my dolls and tried to blame it on the dogs."
"It was an accident, and a long time ago! And I confessed afterwards, didn't I? You're my sister, my precious little sister, and I love you: I swear it to the Sun God and the Golden Dragon."
Nadia began tearing up and embraced Veronica, "Ywf sopkyqqo Ilhoj Justin! [I miss Uncle Justin!]" Nadia sobbed into Veronica's bare chest.
"Ywf hollo. Ywf sopkyqqo yfl uawf, [I know. I miss him too,]" Veronica replied, kissing Nadia's forehead, then turning to Nai'a. "Thank you."
"I didn't do anything," Nai'a replied modestly, a she heard the door lock click again. Nai'a then got up and left the room to leave them alone. Once Nai'a got dressed again, she returned to the temple.
"You look satisfied. Are they getting along again?" Ganesh asked.
"As well as two sisters can get," Nai'a replied.
"Did you have any siblings growing up?" a priest asked.
"No, I'm an only child," said Nai'a. "But I do have two close friends who have been with me all my life since my parents passed away."
The next morning; Yuldya, Opesagyr 6th;
In the morning of the next day, Nai'a received a message to deliver to Veronica and Nadia, detailing plans for the battle.
"Your Highnesses," Nai'a said when she walked in Nadia's room after knocking. The first thing she saw was Nadia and Veronica sleeping in the bed, hugging naked, but Nai'a's entrance roused them. "Your Highnesses."
"It's not what it looks like, we swear!" Veronica exclaimed with her hands up "We just used to do this a lot when we were kids, we're not incestual lesbians or anything of the sort! It's just skinship, that's all!"
"I never said anything about it, did I?" Nai'a replied, and Veronica flushed crimson. Nai'a also noticed a triquetra symbol tattooed on Veronica's inner left forearm, and a scar that looked like a bite on her right shoulder.
"You always did say too much," said Nadia, getting out of bed, and putting on a robe.
"At least I'm honest!" Veronica replied, getting up and putting on a robe herself.
"Anyway, what's with the early morning call?" Nadia asked Nai'a.
"Look out the window," Nai'a replied.
The two sisters did as they were asked and looked. It was a bit foggy out, but what they saw made them gasp. In the water just beyond the shield, mixed in with the ships flying the Yamato and Silver Arrow Flags, were a bunch of ships flying the Maratha Flag.
"The Marathi are here at last," said Veronica.
"That's right," said a soldier who just appeared next to Nai'a. "They're disembarking on either side of the shield as we speak. We've also received a report that the northern Allies are just a few miles behind the Umdari lines."
"Give the order to turn the shield off," said Veronica. "It's time."
Meanwhile, Suguha, Zelda, Tatsuhiko, and Salim were leading the allied army to the north. Along the way, they had joined up with a rebel force of 4000 Soleilians, led by a man named Michel-Ange Rohault de Fleury. Another 3000, under the command of General Alex Beaumont, were recruited in the days since meeting up with them, bringing the accompanying Soleilian rebel force to 7000. Combined with the 5000 in St. Croix, and the 2000 in Rouen under General Fulgence D'Aboville, the entire Soleilian rebel force was now 14,000 men.
"The scout reported that we're just four miles from the enemy position," said Tatsuhiko as he read off a note a scout just handed him.
"Sakqir to tu butsloku osijca, [Time to break up then,]" said Zelda, clad in her Zedylrian steel plate-armor and riding her hippogriff. "I'll get my men in order. Salim, you do the same."
"Re tijgpalina me fedap erqaem page, [Don't tell me what to do,]" Salim replied in Kalaharic, but he rode away to his men nonetheless.
"Manu!" Zelda called back to the rear, where Manu and Lani were both on horses. "You go and pass word to General Rohault de Fleury to do the same. Tell him to get the Soleilians in order."
"Yes, Your Grace," Manu replied as he rode off to fulfill his order.
"Will the Marathi really be alongside Nadia and Veronica's men?" Suguha asked, riding atop Hitokage, as Zelda rode away to her men.
"According to our scouts, they should be there already," said Tatsuhiko. "Once we win this battle, ready to see Nadia and Veronica again?"
"Betewga be jelole he meke jonjukoeli jutu u nohetto amewi, [I just hope they're still healthy,]" Suguha replied. "I'll get the Akatsuki Ninjas in order."
"Enete be wu wili. [You do that.]"
Back in St. Croix;
"I know it's a little late to say this, but I want you to stay in the town," said Veronica as their handmaids fitted them both with plate armor. The chest-plates were custom made and shaped to allow their breasts comfort room, but also left the top half of them exposed.They were also wearing capes with them.
"Uab hoylol Bujj, [No way,]" Nadia replied as her maid attached her pauldrons. "We just made up, and I'm not gonna sit idly in safety while you're out there risking your neck."
"Nadia, please," Veronica pleaded as the maids held their knee-high leather boots straight for them to step into "If something happened to you, I could never live with myself."
"Djoywf tyoxop voy xyp. [Right back at you.]"
"Umm... Are you really going into battle like that?" Nai'a asked.
"Even while going war, some women have got to look pretty," said Nadia.
"Zelda and Suguha could learn from you. So... what do you want me to do?"
"You're staying here!" the princesses replied in union.
Both Nadia and Veronica were witches, and so slipped their wands into a hollow shaft beside the blades of their Soleilian rapiers; a relatively recent invention that allowed them to fight with their swords, and cast spells, without leaving themselves undefended. When Nadia and Veronica had equipped their belts with their wand-swords, they and Nai'a went downstairs to find their top officers, Ganesh, and a Marathi general, waiting for them.
"Your Highnesses, this is General Sunil Kelkar," Ganesh introduced. "He's an old friend of mine, and the commander of the Marathi army for this battle."
"A pleasure," said Veronica.
"The barrier is down now; have the Umdari made any moves yet?" said Nadia.
"The enemy is still holding position," said Sunil. "Probably just being cautious."
"Or they don't yet know what's happening," said Veronica. "It's pretty foggy this morning. General Hachette?"
"We've just been discussing the battle plan, but we'd like your final opinion," said General Louis Hachette, who then directed the two princesses to the map of the area, which currently had their and the enemy's positions marked on it.
"In all, the entire force we brought from Maratha is 50,000 men, but I only brought half here to St. Croix, and only 3000 have made it ashore yet," Sunil explained. "The rest, under General Karthik Dhumal, is aiding General D'Aboville in Rouen. We've set up on either side St. Croix, leaving the center to you."
"We don't plan to make the first move," said Hachette. "We plan to move the infantry in closer to engage once our allies have engaged them from the rear. With our combined numbers, we should be able to drive them out by 'constricting' them from both sides, while dealing significant damage to their forces."
"We never got around to finding out before, but... who's the enemy's commanding officer?" Nadia asked.
"We still don't know," said Sunil.
"It won't matter though," said Veronica. "One way or another, the Siege of St. Croix ends today." Everyone saluted Veronica at these words.
As more and more Marathi soldiers came ashore on either side of the town, everyone got ready for the battle to begin. By late-morning, most of the streets were empty, with most of the citizenry having gone into shelters underground, and at last all the Marathi were ashore: 25,000 Marathi were evenly divided on either side of St. Croix, with another 5000 troops of the Soleilian Royal Army in the center. As the fog finally lifted at around midday, they got a glimpse of the Umdari army. They were manning their siege engines; but, even with the shield down, they showed no signs of being ordered to fire, or advance.
Even with the sun moving, time seemed to have stopped. And then....... there were explosions. Flaming rocks were landing within the Umdari lines, causing small black clouds of dust and dirt to erupt, but neither the Marathi or the Soleilians were launching the projectiles. These blasts and impacts were being caused by siege engines from the allies to the north. With the Umdari caught off guard and confused, the Marathi and Soleilians unleashed their own barrage.
"Qyo qylx sijjyd soptyppr! [They're completely confused!]" Veronica exclaimed as she watched the battle unfold through a telescope from atop her unicorn, alongside the infantry just in front of the trebuchets. "Time to move."
"Now?" Nadia asked as Veronica drew her sword.
"Yes: time to strike as one with our allies."
"Zelda would likely say the same," Nai'a said, surprising Veronica and Nadia.
"I thought we told you to stay where it was safe," said Nadia as the Soleilian trebuchets launched another barrage.
"I am not missing this," Nai'a replied stubbornly.
"Fine, but watch from a rooftop; stay away from the fighting," said Veronica. "And if you spot a rock flying your way, get out of there."
"Yes, your highness." Nai'a then looked out to the battlefield and saw something strange in the sky. The two sisters spotted it too.
"What's that?" Veronica asked as Nai'a looked through her own telescope.
"It's Suguha... riding Hitokage!" Nai'a exclaimed.
"Suguha riding who?" Nadia asked.
"Hitokage... her dragon."
At this, while trebuchets were still launching, Veronica ordered the infantry to advance. While Nadia snatched up a broom lying against a wall, hopped on and took to the air, soon coming close to Suguha.
"Dald fi! [Gung Ho!]" Nadia exclaimed in greeting.
"Twinona xgidatwi [Semper fidelis!]" Suguha replied. "Sorry to keep you waiting!" Suguha exclaimed as she steered Hitokage back north. "The other dragon-riders are coming." And sure enough, at least twenty Hachukaji with riders were coming up.
As Suguha, Hitokage, and the other dragons flew over the Umdari lines once more, they all unleashed torrents of fire-breath on the Umdari.
"And to think that girl used to be afraid of fire and dragons," Nadia said to herself as she was joined by other broom-riding wizards and Juliana the phoenix. From her bird's-eye view, Nadia could see the arrangement the northern allies had taken up: from west-to-east, Transylvania had taken the west flank, followed by Yamatai, her fellow Soleilians, and finally Arabia on the east flank, the entire allied line stretched out nearly three miles.
With Yamatai and Arabia having left 3/4 of their troops in reserve, all together, the allied army to the north was fielding 72,000 troops, while the Marathi and the St. Croix defenders were fielding 30,000 troops; combined the total allied force participating in this battle was 102,000 men. Against the mere 10,000 fielded by Umdar, the battle was looking like a clear decisive victory.
At the Transylvanian lines on the ground;
"That must be Nadia," said Zelda, looking up at the sky just as Nadia and her fellow broom-riders sent spells into the enemy ranks. "At least we have some air support."
"True, true," Heinrich replied.
In the forest behind the fighting, Hye-won, Uryla the Imp and Shiira were waiting out the fight a safe distance away, accompanied by a Yamato platoon. Uryla's partner, Tretan, was with the Soleilians elsewhere.
"Sounds like things are going well, and the battle only started twenty minutes ago," said Hye-won. "But I can't see anything through all this vegetation."
"It's different from Montrebeau, that's the truth," said the lieutenant in charge.
"If you'd like, I can give you a better view," said Uryla.
"Up into the trees then," said Hye-won.
"Me too!" Shiira said.
"One at a time," said Uryla. She then grabbed Hye-won under her armpits from behind and took into the air, quickly arriving at the tree-tops where they could see the battle more clearly.
"So, this is a Patrian battlefield," said Hye-won, sitting on one of the branches. "Will this turn out okay?"
"Don't worry. The battle plan is gildurzgaa, [foolproof,]" Uryla said, hovering next to where she set Hye-won on the branch. "With the Umdari caught off guard like this, things couldn't be more- what's the matter?" Uryla asked as Hye-won got a strange surprise look on her face.
"Wha- what was that I sensed!?"
It wasn't just Hye-won; Zelda, Suguha, Nai'a and Ganesh all sensed it too.
Back in St. Croix;
"What was that!?" Nai'a, sitting on a rooftop watching the battle, exclaimed, shaking her head back into focus.
"What is it?" asked the soldier guarding her.
"I don't know what it was, but I sensed... something bad. Something evil."
"I sensed it too," said Ganesh, suddenly appearing next to Nai'a. "Something is coming."
Up above the battlefield;
"Are you alright, Sugu?" Nadia asked Suguha, flying up next to her to see Suguha shake her head.
"I felt something strange," Suguha replied.
At the Transylvanian lines;
"Your Grace?" Henrich asked, concerned.
"What was that I felt?" Zelda asked, but before anyone could answer, Zelda spotted a purple-black cloud appear within the Umdari lines. When the clouds vanished, Zelda took out her telescope and got a look at what appeared. "Ji ajbloxjutc to-ka club ecfaa! [I dare not believe my eyes!]"
"What? What is it? What came out of the black cloud?" Heinrich inquired.
"It's... it's... it's General Shigekazu Osaragi!" Zelda exclaimed. And sure enough, when he cloud cleared, there, wearing black Yamato samurai armor with spikes on the shoulders, was Osaragi.
"The traitor?!" Heinrich asked.
"Yes! But this can't be! He's dead! Tenno Tatsuhiko executed him. I swear I saw him kill him!" But as Zelda spoke, Osaragi raised his arms, a weird pulse was felt throughout the area, and the fallen Umdari all got up! "CU JOADO! [WHAT THE HELL!]"
At the Yamatai lines;
"Your Majesty! What's going on?" asked General Takeda.
"Osaragi's alive," Tatsuhiko replied. "I don't know how, I executed him myself, but I can see he's the cause of the dead Umdari troops rising up again. I'll deal with him myself, but first…." Tatsuhiko raised him arm, curled his hand into a fist and yelled. "Charge!" this signaled the Yamato to charge in and take the Umdari on in close quarters combat, and the Akatsuki Ninjas took the initiative to charge in as well.
"Looks like Uncle Tatsuhiko is taking charge against whatever is going on down there," said Nadia, as they watched the Yamato infantry charge in.
"I'm going to help too!" Suguha exclaimed, making Hitokage dive.
"Wait, Sugu! When did she get like this?"
On the ground;
Tatsuhiko had dismounted his horse and was leading Yamatai's charge against the reborn dead and what remained of the living Umdari, who were beginning to rout into a full retreat; both due to the approaching Soleilians and Marathi from the south, and due to fear of the dead rising.
Terrateering and igniteering against all enemies, in partnership with another soldier every now and then, Tatsuhiko finally reached Osaragi and drew his katana. In a puff of smoke, Osaragi materialized his own katana and they were sword-locked.
"I killed you," said Tatsuhiko.
"Those who serve Dark Lord Voldrazar are harder to kill than you realize."
"I don't know how you survived, or how you attained the power to raise the dead, but it will not stop- well, would you look at that."
Both their attentions were diverted upward. Up above the soaring Yamato dragons and Soleilian broom-riders was Tallulah, her wings spread out, shining almost as brightly as the sun. Her voice was heard throughout the battlefield: "Turrymilotek vykok lunulmo yw kifgef! [Fallen warriors, go back to sleep!]" These words were in Old Zedylric, understood only by a few. With these words, the battlefield was briefly flooded with a golden aurora, and the risen dead fell back to the ground; "Lujeoukvu og hyvu. [Rest in peace.]"
"Tallulah; she and Xyliana are always thorns in the Dark Lord's side," said Osaragi, then turning his attention back to the tenno.
"It's over. Your undead have fallen once more, and the Umdari have routed. Belobelo be jette, [We've won,]" said Tatsuhiko, still sword-locked with Osaragi.
"You and your allies may have won this day. Nevertheless... you won't be around to enjoy the victory."
The two men broke apart and began clashing swords. With most of the Umdari gone form the area, most of the Yamato soldiers, the Soleilians, and the Marathi, which were now yards away, had stopped in their tracks to watch the confrontation. Even Suguha, who had landed nearby with the intention of helping, was unable to tear her eyes away from the fight.
Tatsuhiko seemed to have the upper hand for the most part, matching Osaragi blow for blow, but finally Osaragi stunned him with a jab to the chin and stabbed Tatsuhiko straight through the heart with his katana!
"NOOOO!" Suguha yelled.
Just before Osaragi withdrew his sword from Tatsuhiko's body, he leaned in for a final word to Tatsuhiko, "Farewell...... brother." He then withdrew his blade, causing the tenno to fall to the grass.
Veronica had her hands over her mouth in shock, but regained herself in time to yell, "SEIZE HIM!" Soldiers all around moved to execute this order, but Osaragi just vanished in a blast of purple-black smoke, a high cruel laugh ringing in the air.
With Osaragi gone, Suguha jumped from Hitokage and ran to her father.
"Father!" Suguha yelled, kneeling beside the dying tenno, and taking his hand. "Father, no! You can't die, please don't die!"
"Suguha," Tatsuhiko said weakly, bleeding onto the grass beneath him.
"Don't try to talk, Your Majesty," said Shogun Tokugawa as more soldiers gathered round.
Veronica had dismounted her unicorn and came to the tenno's side. Nadia had also come down, jumped off her broom and knelt beside Tatsuhiko with Suguha.
"Nadia, Veronica," said Tatsuhiko.
"Uncle," said Nadia, tears streaming down her face as much as Suguha.
"Don't cry, girls. The fight... isn't over yet."
"Don't talk about that now!" Suguha exclaimed. "Can somebody help him?!"
"Suguha... my daughter... don't despair. Tell your mother... I'm sorry I couldn't come home. Tell... your mother... and your siblings... to stay strong. Tell Hidehiko... I'm proud of him. Tell... him... that he is... restored... as heir apparent. Hidehiko... will be Yamatai's... new Tenno."
"I will tell big brother, and big brother and I will tell them. But, Father-"
"I love you, Suguha. I love you, Hidehiko... Hayato, Nanami... Atsuhiko, and Himeko. I love you all. Be...... good." Tatsuhiko closed his eyes, breathed his last breath, and moved no more.
Realizing that her father was gone, Suguha broke down and sobbed into Tatsuhiko's chest. Their beloved tenno taken from them, every Yamato soldier, samurai, and ninja watching also broke down crying and got down on their knees in a final show of respect, and the allied soldiers nearby followed suit by kneeling.
Zelda, escorted by a few horsemen, had just arrived to see what was going on. "A girl weeping over a dead body. This is what Nai'a saw," Zelda thought, dismounting her hippogriff and knelling for the fallen tenno. "Suguha, you have my deepest sympathies."
From the treetops back behind the allied lines, Hye-won was watching through a small telescope borrowed from a soldier below, and couldn't believe what had happened. Glancing at Uryla, they both nodded and Uryla took her back to the ground, where Shiira, the soldiers assigned to guard them, and Nai'a's friends Lani and Manu, were waiting for them.
"What happened?" the lieutenant asked.
"We just got here, what happened with the battle?" Manu asked.
"It's over. The Umdari have routed, and we may have taken a few thousand prisoners," said Hye-won.
"But..." said Uryla, "Tenno Tatsuhiko Oda has been killed."
"NO!" the lieutenant and his men exclaimed.
Back at St. Croix;
"I knew war meant sacrificing lives..." Nai'a said, lowering her telescope, "but Suguha's father..."
"Freedom isn't free," said the Soleilian soldier with them, who looked on the verge of tears himself.
"Yet the price can be unbearable," said Ganesh, who was doing a prayer for the fallen tenno. "The cost of war can never be truly accounted for."
The Siege of St. Croix was over. The Umdari army was routed, but at a cost. Tenno Tatsuhiko Oda was gone, and how this would affect Yamatai's role in the war, no one could yet say.