Itami, a Prisoner of War
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Chapter 13 of the Gate - Thus the JSDF Fought There! manga. "Itami, a Prisoner of War."
The main bulk of Rose-Order of Knights, led by Bozes Co Palesti and Panache Fure Kalgi, hurried towards Italica to join in the battle but some of them feared that they might already be too late to be of assistance to their leader, Pina Co Lada, though they hoped she would have at least survived until they arrive. Unbeknown to them, the entire ordeal at Italica had already been swiftly taken care of with the arrival of the JSDF's Fourth Combat Unit and the people were already at work clearing the rubble while the Japan military was providing humanitarian aid to the people of Italica and the surviving bandits alike.
Pina sat slumped in her chair as a meeting was held at the Formal Clan's mansion between the JSDF military and the head of the clan itself, Myui. Several notable characters were present during the meeting. Aside from Pina and Myui, there were Grey Co Aldo and Hamilton Uno Ror from the Rose-Order of Knights and the head maid Kaine from the Formal Clan household while from the JSDF side there were Kengun Shunya and Itami Youji from the Japan military together with Lelei La Lalena, Tuka Luna Marceau and Rory Mercury, the trio of ladies from the Special Region who were presently tagging along with the JSDF. Deep in thoughts, Pina couldn't help but despair when she recalled back how the JSDF came to suppress the bandits with their "iron Pegasus" and the power to turn the ground into smoking craters when using their overpowering magic on the enemies.
The meeting continued as Hamilton tried to discuss how to deal with the captured bandits. Pina and Hamilton were baffled when Kengun suggested that they should treat the prisoners as humanely as possible when those were the very people who had caused so much suffering and destruction unto the peaceful Italica. Still, Pina agreed to his suggestion, stating that it's the privilege of the the victor to decide the end deal though she tried to deduce what these invaders from beyond the Gate were actually thinking. Pina was further troubled when she was presented with the conditions that Italica was set to abide to since it didn't comply to how she had known the victors in the Special Region would act during a time of war.
The conditions stated were::
- The JSDF is eligible to take a number of three to five people from the captives.
- Formal Clan leader, Myui, and Princess of the Empire, Pina Co Lada, are to become mediators between the JSDF and the Empire, particularly towards the Emperor and the Senate. They are to secure the safety of the delegation during such mediation.
- Tax exemption for all the people from the Alnus Community within Italica and any area which the Countess Formal rules.
- When this treaty is taken into effect, the JSDF will retreat immediately from any area under Countess Formal's rule. However, safe passage is granted to any small military groups and people from the Alnus Community for any future endeavor within the area.
The conditions would benefit Italica more than they would benefit the JSDF but Pina chalked it up to Hamilton's somewhat superb negotiation skills though she didn't know just what strings Hamilton managed to pull behind her back. The treaty was signed by three people, Pina, Myui and lastly Kengun, in that order during which Pina noticed that Itami had a bruised eye while Rory was pouting angrily behind him. Before the Fourth Combat Unit departed for Alnus Base, Itami was assigned the role of selecting candidates from the captives to be brought back. He chose four females and one male, one of which was the Siren who was responsible in repelling the arrows shot by the Italica militants during the siege. The people of Italica cheered when the helicopters took to the air as they witnessed the departure of their saviors though the captives were more scared to find themselves carried into the air.
Meeting the merchant who was an acquaintance of Cato El Altestan, Lelei went straight to business by trading in the collected scales of the Wyverns. Though the scales managed to fetch a high price, recent turn of events caused a lack of immediate funds but Lelei chose to use the unpaid sum which amounted to one thousand Denari as a barter for information regarding the goods found in the markets and to send whatever information he might be able to gather to the Alnus Community.
After concluding their initial business for visiting Italica, the Third Recon packed up and headed back towards Alnus together with Rory, Lelei and Tuka who were all soundly asleep in the vehicle. They unexpectedly encountered the Rose-Order of Knights led by Bozes and Panache along the way. Thinking that it would be best that they avoid any sort of violence, Itami absentmindedly ordered his men to leave the spot without having boarded any of the vehicles. With no prior knowledge of what had transpired nor the treaty that had been signed at Italica, the Knights roughed up Itami when they dragged him back to Italica as a prisoner of war. This sudden turn of events enraged Pina so much that she threw a goblet right at Bozes for the blunder she had unknowingly caused. Fearing of going up against the combined force of JSDF's Fourth Combat Unit and Rory Mercury with the lives of Italica's people at stake, Pina took Grey's suggestion of making amendments towards Itami by providing something that would lift his spirit.
Just as night was falling, the Third Recon watched Italica from a distance while Kuribayashi voiced her inner thoughts that Itami would just drop dead already but she herself ended up in a world of shock when Tomita informed her that Itami would survive the harsh treatments the Knights were likely to put him through because he was actually a member of the Ranger corps. This threw Kuribayashi into a world of despair and denial. Not understanding what it was all about, Lelei inquired about the nature of this "Ranger". Kuribayashi then told her what it was all about; a Ranger is a soldier who has survived through hellish training with the body and mind of steel, capable of carrying tens of kilograms of equipment and completing missions that would be near impossible for normal soldiers.
The explanation brought a rare smile to Lelei's face as she considered Itami to be someone who had the mind of a slime and preferred to just laze around in the shades of trees, reading some thin books rather than some powerful warrior. The sentiment was apparently shared by both Rory and Tuka as they burst out laughing when they heard the explanation about how Itami was actually a powerful warrior called Ranger. When the night had fully enveloped the landscape in darkness except for places lit up by torches, the Third Recon split up into two groups with the infiltration unit approaching Italica together with Rory, Tuka and Lelei.