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Mid-day, Leodya, Gopaco 15th;
After swimming all the way from Markaydia without rest, Nai'a had arrived at her destination at nearly high-noon. Swimming up to Nordeaux, the small fishing town marked on her map, she noticed from a sign hanging on the pier that she was in the right place. Though at this moment, she was unable to go anywhere due to a few orange-coated Umdari soldiers patrolling near the docks.
"Myo, [Great,]" Nai'a muttered to herself in Waikikese as she hid behind a large half-submerged pole. "I finally get to my destination and there are enemy soldiers crawling all over the place." Nai'a looked around for a place she could dry off and change back without being seen. Finally, she noticed the dock house. "Ye neoke'o. [Perfect.]" Nai'a swam over to the nets hanging on the building and began to climb up to the open window, a difficult feat without the use of legs. Finally, after twenty tense minutes, during which she had to freeze twice in the event soldiers were looking over, she managed to hoist herself into the window and, with great difficulty, pulled herself though it and into the building. Although she landed on her head when she finally fell though. "For the first time in my life, I feel that having a tail is a pain."
Nai'a dragged herself over to a set of sails that were lying nearby and began to dry herself, but suddenly froze when she heard footsteps and voices approaching. Knowing she only had seconds, she pulled the sails over herself to hide.
"I know I 'eard somethin' from this building," said one deep male voice as the door opened.
"I say ya imagined it," said another male voice.
"Wot's 'at? A feesh tail?" the first man asked.
Nai'a felt ice drop into her stomach as she realized that her lower body was still in plain sight; but she controlled herself and didn't even breathe.
"Some guy musta put it here fer later," said the second man. "Prob'bly spoiled by now. Now let's go, Erdie."
"But wot 'bout tha' noise?"
"I'm telling ya, ya 'magin'd it!" both men left at that, closed the door and Nai'a unfurled herself and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Ey hoko ira nemeioi ey o ira hio o 'ema'o arone nomyka, e ey emaema hi'eqimi hiqy, [I can't believe I haven't even been here five minutes and I almost got caught,]" Nai'a said to herself in Waikikese. Nai'a dried herself off completely and changed back. "Now I gotta find the rebels, and fast." Nai'a put on her bracelet and was about to open the door, when a realization came to her. "Darn it. I can't go anywhere in broad daylight dressed like this. My outfit is suspicious enough, but my skin and eyes will attract far too much attention if I'm seen." Nai'a cautiously looked out one of the windows. The dockyard was deserted, the soldiers appeared to have left for the moment. "Zelda would advise me to be cautious, but I can't afford to wait until nightfall, the invasion will be here in three days and the rebels need to prepare."
Nai'a cautiously opened the door and crept out. She took off down streets and through alleys, dodging out of sight whenever she spotted a soldier. The entire time, she couldn't help notice that Nordeaux was a bit too quiet, even though she could sense that people were in the buildings.
"This is unsettling," Nai'a thought. "Where is everyone? I know there are people in the buildings, but it's the middle of the day and no one is emerging for work or shopping."
"Hay, YOU!" exclaimed a voice behind her.
Nai'a looked around and saw that an Umdari soldier had spotted her. Nai'a ran flat out as fast as she could. The chase went on for twenty minutes through the streets, during which several other soldiers joined the chase. Finally, at the south edge of the town, Nai'a seemed to had lost her pursuers for the moment, and set her back against a wall to catch her breath. She then noticed what seemed to be her only chance. Several yards in front of her was a small farm. Nai'a bolted to it and threw herself into the barn. It was only when she was inside it that she noticed she wasn't alone. A young boy and girl, no older than ten and eight, were in the middle of chores, her sudden appearance having taken them by surprise.
"Who-" the boy milking a cow was about to say, but the coming of voices made him stop.
"Soldiers are after me!" Nai'a told them hurriedly as she looked around for a place to hide, then spotting the pile of hay in the rafters. "I beg you, if those soldiers come in here, please don't say anything. Please!" Nai'a climbed up to the rafters and hid herself in the hay. A minute later, a couple Umdari soldiers came in.
"You kids, did a strange person come in here?" the first soldier asked, but the kids didn't answer. "Well?"
The girl, a bunch of hay in her arms, looked at her brother nervously, then the boy said. "Nobody came in here since we did. We've been in here doing our chores all morning." The soldiers seemed to buy this and left. The boy waited a few minutes before addressing Nai'a. "You can come down now. They're gone."
"Thank you," Nai'a said gratefully as she got down. "I owe you my life."
"What was that about?" the girl asked.
"You're a lunaculus," said the boy. "Are you Princess Suguha Oda?"
"(hehehe) No. I'm Nai'a. I'm from Maritymir."
"I'm Oliver," said the boy. "This is my younger sister, Anabelle. What are you doing here?"
"I'm... not really supposed to say. Could I talk to your parents instead?"
"Nobody on the farm but Ana and big brother," said Anabelle.
"Our father is a soldier in the Royal Army," said Oliver. "We haven't seen him since before the war; we barely even remember him. Our mother died last month."
"I'm so sorry," Nai'a said sympathetically. She then considered them a moment. "Maybe you could help me again. I'm on an errand for Tenno Tatsuhiko Oda of Yamatai and Queen Zelda VI of Transylvania. In three days, under cover of night, a small army of three nations will invade this island via this town to free it from Umdar. I must find the rebels on this island so that they can prepare for their arrival."
"We know where rebels are!" Anabelle said excitedly. "We give them food!"
"Every week we go down to their secret base under the town to deliver them food," said Oliver. "And where not the only ones. Other shipments come in discreetly from all over the island every week."
"They're... 'under' the town?" Nai'a inquired, confused. Oliver then cleared some of the straw away from a portion of the floor, revealing a hatch and pulled it open. Oliver gestured for them to follow him in. Inside the hole as the climbed down was a bunch of cheese wheels on shelves.
"We make cheese," said Oliver when they reached the bottom. "The soldiers know about this room, but they think it's only a storage room and nothing more." Oliver pressed a portion of the wall, and the back wall opened. "But they don't know about this at all, or the tunnels." Oliver pulled a wand out of his pocket and muttered; "Lufax," lighting the tip. "Follow me."
"You're a wizard?" Nai'a asked as Oliver led the way by the light of his wand.
"Uh-huh. Anabelle's a witch too. But I only know simple spells. If it weren't for this terrible war, I'd be due to start my studies at Saint Fleur's Academy of Magic next year."
"Poor kids," Nai'a thought. "They've lost their mother, they barely knew their father, and Oliver might not be able to learn more about his abilities. I had it easy since I had everybody in the village when I lost my parents, but they only have each other."
After what seemed to be an hour, the reached what appeared to be an underground bunker. Oliver knocked on the door in a certain way, which seemed to tell the people inside that it was him.
"Oliver?" said the man who answered the door. "More food already?"
"No food this time," Oliver replied. "Instead, we have someone who needs to see the general."
Nai'a caught the hint, stepped forward, and said, "I'm Na'a Palakiko, lunaculus of Maritymir. I have a message for your general from Tenno Tatsuhiko Oda of Yamatai and Queen Zelda VI of Transylvania."
The rebel soldier stepped aside and allowed the trio in. The room was about the size of the meeting hall in the Oda residence in Markaydia, but the nearby doorways suggested the place was larger. The room was lit by lanterns and smelled of hay. Nai'a could only guess that they didn't venture outside too often. The rebel who answered the door led Nai'a over to a table where four more rebels, who appeared to be of higher rank, were poring over a map of the island, while another led the kids away.
"General Victor," said the rebel who let Nai'a in. "The lunaculus of Maritymir, here to see you on behalf of Tenno T. Oda."
The one named Victor looked up from the map and saw Nai'a. "You're so young," he said.
"The same can be said for Princess Suguha," Nai'a replied as she took the letter from her bag.
General Victor opened the letter and read it carefully. He then chuckled and said; "Call all the officers here at once!" Once the order was given, the rest of the officers, over sixty of them, were in the room in minutes. "This is it, men," He told the room at large. "The reason Umdari presence in Nordeaux has dropped lately has been made clear, thanks to the letter delivered by miss Nai'a here. We have avoided making any moves out of caution to this development, but the time is now. In three days' time, an allied army consisting of Transylvania, Arabia, and our own ally, Yamatai, will land in this town under cover of night. We must decrease enemy presence further to make ready for their arrival, while a larger force lands directly on the mainland. With the aid of this army, we will take back our island, and pave way for the full liberation of Soleil. Alqop Hilydpoywf typx tyoxop bpoy qoyl! [Our kingdom will be free again!]" Victor said the last phrase in Gallic, and everyone cheered following this pronouncement. "Let us not waste any time, we must act now!" Everybody went to work and Victor turned to Nai'a. "I want to thank you for coming here. It was a very brave, courageous and noble thing to do."
"I was just doing what I had to," Nai'a replied. "We all want an Umdari defeat, don't we?"
There was no time to rest as everybody went about to make way for the arrival of the allied army. From killing ranking soldiers and officials to luring soldiers away from the town, everything was done to ensure the town was empty as possible when the alliance got here. Unable to do very much more, all they could do then, was wait.
Hoderdya, Gopaco 18th;
Night on the 18th had fallen, and the streets of Nordeaux were empty as could be, save for less than fifty Umdari soldiers still hanging around patrolling, but several Soleilian Edeners that had turned up the previous day were hunting them down. From up on rooftops and the second stories of buildings, Soleilian rebel soldiers were waiting for some sign of the imminent arrival of the allied invasion force. Nai'a, General Victor, his aide, and the lead Eden Knight, named Robert, were waiting on the docks.
"Are you sure we should be here?" Nai'a asked uncertainly as she looked around. "It's a little exposed."
"My Knights are hunting down the last of the Umdari in town," said Robert. "We have nothing to fear from being out like this. Plus, since the moons are covered tonight, we're not likely to be seen."
"Got that right," said Victor "It's so dark out, I doubt they will be able to see us. And I want to greet the first leader to come ashore. I would've preferred Tenno Oda; the late King Justin III and I were good friends of his. But I guess I could get to know Queen Zelda."
"I assure you, she's more than capable," said Nai'a. "While in Markaydia I got to know her and the things she's done."
"How are we to let them know we've seen them?" Robert asked.
"The letter said to have wizards send up yellow sparks," said Victor. "Yann here will send up the first one, and then several others I've placed around the area will do the same."
"Huh? What's that?" Nai'a asked as a portion of clouds cleared up, letting light fall on something on the horizon. It was a bunch of ships, and even at a distance there was no mistaking flags being flown by the incoming vessels. "It's the fleet. Yamatai in the lead! And over to the east is a bunch of ships flying the Arabian flag."
"And up above!" Robert exclaimed, pointing to a fleet of ships, with wing-like attachments on the sides like rowing oars, flying above the fleet on the water. "You said the Transylvanians were using airships."
Victor nodded to Yann and he sent up yellow sparks. Several other people followed his lead and the air was soon filled with yellow sparks. The allied fleet answered with blue fireworks.
Only a single ship from each fleet docked in the port, in the Transylvanians' case theirs hovered over the structures, the rest remained offshore and sent troops and artillery to shore in rowboats. From the three ships that came in, their commanders stepped down from them.
"I see this place is pretty quiet," said a familiar voice that came from the Yamato ship. It was Suguha, who was wearing Yamato samurai armor over her black ninja suit.
"Your Highness!" Nai'a exclaimed as Suguha jumped down from the bow unto the dock. "How was the voyage?"
"Jenela napia. [Pretty dull.]" Suguha turned around briefly and whistled, effectively ordering the men to disembark. "I guess you got this place nice an empty for us."
"It wasn't me, it was them. This is General Victor, leader of the rebels here. And this is Robert, the leader of the Knights of Eden in Clairiere Province."
"Pleasure to meet you, Princess," said Victor and Robert, bowing to Suguha respectfully.
"Pleasure is all mine," Suguha replied as they were joined by the Arabian General. "This is General Asghar ibn Khadem Barakat, the Arabian Commander here."
"Where's Salim?" Nai'a asked. "I thought he would be leading the Arabians."
"He's with Tatsuhiko and Heinrich leading the mainland invasion," said another familiar voice; it was Zelda, who was wearing Zedylrian Steel plate armor.
"You must be Zelda," said Victor.
"Yes, sir, I'm Queen Zelda A.L.T.M. Tepes," Zelda replied.
"Nice armor," Suguha commented. "Zedylrian Steel?"
"As a matter of fact, it is. It was originally a gift of tribute from Ordensstaat, but I had a Dwarven master blacksmith from Nidavellir rework it to fit me better."
"Bejelamewi, [I can see that,]" Suguha replied in Yamato tediously, noticing the mounds in the upper part of the breastplate.
"Well, gentlemen, now that all the leaders are assembled, let's get organized."
While the officers oversaw the landing of the troops and the unloading of supplies, the commanding figures gathered in a nearby inn to get organized and plan the coming assault.
"The island's capital, Montrebeau, is thirty miles southwest of here," said Victor as he, Suguha, Zelda, Robert, Asghar and Nai'a looked over the map of the island and Montrebeau, the island's capital. "For the last month, most of the original occupying force was withdrawn to the Caroline Province, so the coast is rather cleared out. The remains of the Umdari army in the province has since holed itself up in the capital, which is governed from a fort on the northeast corner, guarded by two thousand Umdari soldiers in and around it. It was constructed around the governor's mansion and was designed to defend against northern and eastern attacks."
"They obviously suspected that we'd attack this place," said Asghar. "We should sweep around the island and attack from the south."
"That'll take too long," said Suguha. "We brought over six thousand men with us; since we outnumber them heavily we could take them head on."
"We need to be bold, sure, but not stupid!" said Zelda. "What if we split our forces in two. A smaller force will assault the fort head on, while the main army will loop around the town and take it from the rear."
"Impossible. There's not a lot of trees to hide behind, you'd be spotted before you even make it into the town; and the enemy will hole itself up in the fort before you can get close," Victor explained. "Furthermore... the fort, and the town itself, is on a low hill; we'll be fighting an uphill battle all the way."
"The Transylvanians came here using airships," said Robert. "What if we have a few regiments drop in from above?"
"We can only drop in one at a time using ropes; my men would be slaughtered before they can make any moves," Zelda objected.
"Our only options are a full-frontal assault, or a siege," said Victor.
"We are not dragging this out!" Suguha exclaimed. "We're taking that fort, and the rest of this island, within a week. Not to mention a siege is impossible with that hill you mentioned."
"How's this?" Zelda queried. "We try to drag this into at least a three-day battle. We spend the first two days of battle on a frontal assault, seeing what we're up against before making the last push with some grand plan." She turned toward Robert. "It might be that this battle will require some late-night subterfuge."
"I never knew that planning for battles was so tense," Nai'a muttered to herself.
"We also need to know, who's the Umdari commander?" Suguha asked.
"Some arse named Vyrvio," said Victor. "His skills and charisma as a commander are mediocre at best. He's proven himself a tyrant, but we can trust him to make some decisions that will benefit us more than them."
In the end, it was agreed that the "Battle of Montrebeau" would commence as a frontal assault with Yamatai and Soleil in the middle, and Transylvania and Arabia on the west and east flanks respectively.
Two days later; Yuldya, Gopaco 21st, early morning;
After a two-day march, the allied army had advanced to just a few miles north of Montrebeau. They got into few minor skirmishes along the way, but the outnumbered Umdari patrols surrendered before things got out of hand. Scouts had reported that the Umdari army knew they were coming and were entrenching themselves. This did not worry nor come as a surprise to anyone, as every officer, Commander, and common soldier was expecting stiff resistance. The only thing that seemed to worry everyone was the report that the Umdari had, so the scouts reported, employed Soul-Wraiths and trolls to act as auxiliary.
As the sun began rising properly, the army, now in formation, had Montrebeau in their sights.