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The Kingdom of Rota (ロタ王国編, Rota Ōkoku-hen) is the first volume of the Guardian of Heaven and Earth novel.

Plot IntroductionEdit

Chagum travels through Rota in order to forge an alliance between Rota and New Yogo. Balsa follows his steps to find and protect him.

SummaryEdit

During the days of unusually warm autumn, New Yogo empire prepares for upcoming invasion of the Talsh empire that's going to begin the following winter. It is one and a half years since it was become known that Sangal have fallen and Talsh is going to attack New Yogo. New Yogo has completely shut its borders, conscripts soldiers (10 persons per village), and workers for building fortresses.

Meanwhile, struck by the news of Chagum's death, Tanda and Torogai investigate the cause behind increasingly frequent landslides. They determine that waters of a river in Nayug, that overlays Sagu (the real world) have become unusually warm, which in turn disbalanced the ecosystem in Sagu, causing the landslides. Tanda tries to find the source of the warm water in Nayug, but can not get close to it because it is somewhere behind the mountains in the north, maybe in Kanbal. Balsa is doing her work of illegally guiding home the Rota and New Yogo people who got stranded in another country due the sudden border closure.

A secret messenger from Jin informs Tanda and Balsa of Chagum's actual plan of going to Rota. In his letter, Jin asks Balsa to go to Rota in order to find and protect Chagum. Although the chances of Chagum ever getting to Rota alive seem to be very low, she rushes to help him.

When Balsa arrives to Tsuram (ツーラム) port in southern Rota, she first searches for traces of some outstanding gemstones that Chagum had when he jumped into the sea, and his adventure gradually unveils before Balsa as she follows the lead.

It appears that Chagum, now sixteen years old, have reached Rota safely on a Rassharou home-ship. However, near the end of the journey, it was attacked by pirates. Chagum used some gemstones to save the Rassharou family he travelled with and had the pirates bring him to Tsuram port, then immediately went to the castle of local feudal, Suan (スーアン).

Meanwhile, Asra and Chikisa make a visit to Tanda's house. They are now living in Shirogai with the family of Martha, who recently came to Kosenkyo for shopping. Asra can not talk and communicates through writing. She explains that in her dreams, she saw something Holy swimming through Nayug sea from south to north. Her dreams urge to do something, but she does not understand what exactly. Tanda does not have time to investigate because his relatives approach him with a request to get conscripted as a field soldier in place of Tanda's brother, which he can not refuse. At the field camp, Tanda meets a fourteen-years-old boy, Kocha (コチャ), who was also conscripted in place of his older brother. Like Asra, Kocha can see Nayug at will and also has dreams similar to those of Asra.

While trying to find out what happened in Suan's the castle, Balsa, having eaten food with paralyzing medicine mixed in, is attacked by the spies of Southern Wing of Talsh, who act under Talsh prince Hazar. However, she is suddenly saved by Hugo, who is a spy of Talsh Northern Wing, working under prince Raul. Hugo informs Balsa that Suan and other feudals of the South are secretly conspiring with prince Hazar. Chagum was put under a house arrest in the castle, but has already escaped, and Suan has already dispatched pursuers.

Before Balsa could recover from numbness, the grain hangar used as Hugo's hideout is attacked by a Kashal group and is set on fire. Hugo saves Balsa from fire, but gets seriously wounded. They both hide and run away in a small boat.

While on boat, Hugo explains Balsa that his main goal is to make prince Raul the next Talsh emperor (current emperor is bedridden with illness), and become a prime minister under Raul. The prince to become the next emperor is the one who presents biggest achievement in invading other countries. Should prince Hazar get credited for invading Rota, prince Raul's total achievements would be smaller even if he takes over New Yogo, which is smaller by territory. On the other hand, ruining prince Hazar's plans to take over Rota would make Raul the next emperor even if he does not take over New Yogo.

Hugo explains the reasons behind Talsh attack on relatively poor countries of the Northern Continent. The first one, is their way to maintain loyalty of population of recently invaded countries, now struggling under heavy taxes. A family of a warrior who gets significant achievements in invading other countries is exempted from taxes. This process requires new countries to be invaded from time to time, but nearly all Southern continent is already invaded. The second reason is that Talsh priests believe that the God of Sun they are worshiping has recently moved to the Northern continent. As a sign of that, there's some decline in agriculture in Talsh.

Hugo suggests that it is much better for Chagum to arrange an alliance between Rota and Kanbal. Such an alliance would allow the Rota royal family to subside the southern feudals, prevent the civil war, and then make Rota and Kanbal impregnable for Talsh attack. In such a situation, there would also be no profit for Talsh to attack small New Yogo.

Having recovered from numbness, Balsa turns herself into the hands of Kashal group, allowing Hugo to escape. Knowing Balsa's name, Kashals treat her well and in a few days allow to meet they leader, woman called Ahal (アハル).

Ahal informs Balsa that her comrades actually helped Chagum to escape Suan's castle, and he is already on his way to Jitan to meet prince Ihan. Rota king Yosam is very ill to the point that he can't accept visitors, and, while keeping the illness in secret from the citizen, prince Ihan actually governs the country.

Chagum has also left a letter to Balsa, asking her to return to New Yogo in order to protect Tanda during the upcoming invasion. Seeing that she has nothing left to do, Balsa first returns to the inn in Tsuram to get back her horse and luggage.

At the inn, she gets a letter from Hugo informing that during his stay in Suan's castle, Chagum accidentally met a Kanbal person he already knew, presumably Kanbal King's Spear who accompanied the king in Sangal. To prevent Chagum from exposing that person to Kanbal king, Southern Wing has sent assassins to kill Chagum. Unlike the pursuers sent by Suan, those assassins are extremely strong.

Balsa rushes for Jitan. Midway, she meets a Kashal from Ahal's clan who explains that Chagum's convoy was split into two groups, one of which worked as a decoy and ambushed Suan's pursuers. The second group, led by Shihana who works hard to restore her position, went on to bring Chagum to prince Ihan.

Balsa understands that Talsh assassins are still a danger for Chagum. She rushes to meet with prince Ihan, only to learn that Chagum has already left for Kanbal, accompanied by just two soldiers. Ihan explained that he turned down Chagum's alliance proposal. One reason is, that in the face of upcoming civil war between the North that supports Ihan, and the South lead by southern feudals, he has no military force to spare. The second reason is, that Chagum must get rid of Mikado in order to make the alliance viable, however, Chagum will most likely not move to kill the Mikado. However, an alliance between Rota and Kanbal seemed viable to Ihan.

Balsa rushes her horse to follow Chagum through a snow storm. Both Rota soldiers are dead and the assassin attacks Chagum, breaking Chagum's sword and cutting him. After some struggle, Balsa kills the assassin with some Chagum's help.

Later on, Balsa and Chagum reach a small hut where they recover from wounds and cold. Chagum has got a big scar on the right side of his face. They decide that they will go to Kanbal together to seek an alliance between Kanbal and Rota.