ly be 50% of that.

As such, losing 1000 men would already mean big damage to such an army.

“Achievements are only something warriors aim for.
The Ashigaru and other soldiers usually have different priorities.”

“…and those are?”

“To earn enough to make a living off it.
Just that.”

Cutting off the enemy commander’s head or conquering a castle to amass achievements was something only warriors were thinking about.

Then what was it that the remaining soldiers wanted? Simply securing their livelihood.

As a result, the ordinary soldiers burned, plundered, ransacked, and more to turn a profit on the spoils.

There were merchants who had made this their main business as well, opening markets to sell these spoils after the battles, going as far as human trafficking at times.

On the battlefield, you had poor ruffians, thieves, and bandits mixed in, who looted whenever they could.

This behavior was tolerated by the Daimyos of the Sengoku era, and at times they even made plundering a toppled castle the reward for their soldiers.

In fact, some Daimyos even recommended plundering, as it would enrich their own territory.

That was just how normal post-war atrocities were in this era.
They were not viewed as an evil deed.

“……”

Kimyoumaru, who had seemed to hold some idealized view of war, looked shocked.

Seeing this, Shizuko hurriedly continued her explanation.

“W-well, for it to get that bad is rare.
A-anyway, turning this kind of thinking around and taking advantage of it is my plan to spoil the surrounding villages rotten.

“Turning it around….?”

“Yep.
The reason for the ordinary soldiers to step on the battlefield is that they feel it is necessary for them to survive.
Now what if you removed that necessity…?”

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After thinking about it for a moment, Kimyoumaru opened his eyes wide in realization and muttered.

“They won’t want to go to war?”

“Exactly.
Depending on the size of their village they might get forcibly pressed into service, but a family that doesn’t have to be worried whether they’ll have something to eat tomorrow would be loathe to send their workforce to a battlefield where they could die, right?”

“I see.
It makes sense from the perspective of an ordinary soldier….hmm? Could this be the “winning without fighting” from Sun Tzu’s Art of War!?”

As if the penny had dropped at last, Kimyoumaru clapped his hands.

“Give the peasants enough to eat, and make them dislike joining an army.
Like that, their lord would have trouble getting them to take up arms.
And according to what you said, Shizuko, they make up the majority of the army, so this would mean a big decrease in the army’s fighting power.
And no matter how strong the warrior is, facing ten thousand soldiers by themselves is reckless.”

“Furthermore, if you then cut off the food supplies to the rural villages, they will be greatly troubled.
And if the reason for that was the lord of that region, whom would their anger be directed against then?”

“It would stop functioning as a country.
If we then negotiated with them to surrender, we could obtain the other country without losing a single soldier.”

“(Well, it doesn’t go that smoothly in real life though) And as for regions far away from the capital like here… The further you go away, the lower the niveaux of agriculture sinks, leaving the people in a constant state of famine.
That’s why they all want to go to war to somehow secure food.
Or to just reduce the amount of mouths to feed.”

Shizuko placed small stones on the Shikoku, Kyushu and Tohoku regions.

“Additionally, reaching these areas from here means a long travel time.
This also means a large investment needs to be made before one can even start a war.
Rather than that, creating markets and distributing wares to them will take away their reason to fight, and will be the cheaper alternative in the end.
And, after you have taken control of that land, you can exercise economic control via these markets.”

“Hoho.
As expected of you, Shizuko.
Your point of view is completely different from mine or father’s.
But it is annoyingly persuasive.
Well, the main problem would be the short temper of my father, as I am not sure he would be understanding of such long winded schemes…”

These words made Shizuko stare at him with suspicion in her eyes.
But then she remembered that the boy was a blood relative of Nobunaga.

He would probably proudly present the content of their conversation to his father or caretaker as if he had thought of it himself.

(Well, he’s just a child, so I don’t think anyone will pay it too much attention)

Shizuko thought that his surroundings would just ignore it as the blabberings of a child.

That’s why she had decided to tell Chamaru about the “What would I have done at that moment” and “historical what-ifs” she used to think up.

And the parts about Sun Tzu’s Art of War and the other Seven Military Classics were not her own interpretation, but a simplified version of an interpretation she had read in a book.

As Shizuko had thought that this conversation would more or less stay between her and Chamaru, she told him everything without hesitation.

Without knowing that this presumption was greatly mistaken.

If you are reading from a pirate or aggregator site, please read from the translator’s site: yado-inn (dot) com.
We have to put the link like this or else the bots will remove it, sorry.

Nobunaga was reading the parts of “Sun Tzu’s Art of War” that Kimyoumaru had gotten out of Shizuko.

The original “Art of War” had almost 100 volumes and was difficult to understand.
The emperor of Wei, Cao Cao, reorganized and edited it into 13 volumes, adding annotations and interpretations.
This edited version is what is today known as “Sun Tzu’s Art of War”.

And a version with added examples was the “Sun Tzu’s Art of War” in Shizuko’s head.

(This is more than just surprising.
To think that such an excellent book on strategy existed in Mei…)

The true nature of war as described in “Sun Tzu’s Art of War” was enough of a shock to Nobunaga, to profoundly change his thoughts about war.

(Shizuko said this to Kimyoumaru.
That one should not take a “strategy book” at face value.
That it would be pearls before swine if one couldn’t compile their contents and put them to practice.)

Even “Sun Tzu’s Art of War” would be meaningless if you just read it.

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That was the warning Kimyoumaru had reported to him.
I see, Nobunaga thought after reading the strategy book.

Nobunaga browsed through the reports.
There, it stood written.

“War is an important matter for a country.
Avoid unwinnable battles and handle the situation carefully.
And in war, aim to win without fighting, as turning an enemy into a friend is the best move.”

Summarizing it, “War involves life and death of its citizens, so think of it as a most important matter.
Avoid fighting wars you know you will lose.
If you do need to wage war, try to win without fighting battles wherever possible.
Think of turning an enemy into an ally as the best option.”

Other than that, “logistics are the lifeblood of an army”, “spies are the most important people during war”, and “think about information as the most valuable asset” were written down in the reports.

(These are truly splendid.
But, above everything else, the most terrifying is the report about spies.)

Either one would be worthy to keep as family treasures of the Oda clan, but the report about the case of a spy.

The topic of the case was Takeda Shingen.
According to it, Shingen valued information gathering highly, and had secret organizations called “Mitsumono” or “Suppa”.

Its members were, among others, monks and merchants which collected information in many countries.

He also took in orphans or bought girls from human traffickers, taught them the skills necessary for spy work, and had them deployed to the entire country as “Walking Mikos” to gather intelligence.

They collected information on many topics such as the general situation of the country, the movements of his vassals, their military strength, the abilities and preferences of castle lords as well as the layouts of their castles.

Shingen analyzed the gathered data and formulated battleplans based on that would create favorable engagements inside his country, leading to his undefeated army.

When Nobunaga realized that this was the mechanism that had earned Takeda Shingen the alias of “Long-legged Monk”, he was shocked to the core.

But the report on the Takeda didn’t stop there.

Another piece of paper contained the strategies and tactics of the Takeda clan contained in the “Koyou Gunkan” strategy book.

The contents of this report were something Kimyoumaru had written down when he had invited Shizuko to his mansion.

And during a meal, she drank as much sake as Kimyoumaru had poured for her.

Shortly after, the alcohol had entered her system and in high spirits, she suddenly began talking about the Takeda.

The content of her stories were Takeda’s information gathering and the “Koyou Gunkan”.

It goes without saying that Nobunaga had issued a “drinking ban” on Shizuko the next day.

Nobunaga combined the information the drunken Shizuko had spilt with the intelligence he himself had collected.

And he came to understand that while there were some uncertainties, Shizuko’s story was infinitely close to the truth.

(… How that girl can know things even the direct retainers of Takeda are unaware of is a mystery.
But if this information really is the truth… no, let’s not dwell on it now.)

But even with this newfound knowledge, Nobunaga didn’t want to take any action against Takeda.

He judged that it would be best to continue to be as careful as possible, and to send Uesugi and Takeda gifts to maintain a close relationship with them.

(Regardless of the report’s truth, I should not focus on things other than those which I can only do now.
Confirming this report and putting it to use can be done later.)

Looking at the final sheet of paper, Nobunaga slightly smiled.

On it stood the following information.

“Takeda Tokueiken Shingen.
Suffers from an incurable illness and has at most only six to seven years left.”

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