Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
The mist has dissipated, revealing sets of giant catapults and ballistas in a line that faced towards the targeted wall. The number was beyond counting, stunning all the rebels who have vowed to guard Carson City.
“All catapult units, lock and load!” At the commanding station, the commander’s order, which was amplified by magic, traveled clearly into everyone’s ears.
Soldiers quickly moved accordingly. Hence reels began clunking, ropes started creaking. The tough yet flexible wooden arms bent backward from up the sky. All empty slots have been filled with oversized stones.
The Dark Army has installed eight catapult positions. The machines from all of them have successfully sent stones out, all 1, 200 of them after the first firing order.
A city’s magic shield was only capable of defending magic strike whereas it had zero defensibility to physical attacks.
As the stones rained, Carson’s wall suffered smashing. The rebels howled.
The initial strikes focused on the garrison stations near the gates, riddling the adjacent walls.
Without any orders, the operators quickly reloaded the machines with amazing speed and fluency due to the fact that they have finished the complete set of training right before the war.
To supply this war, the crafts-dwarfs had been dead-busy. Before Cohen’s runaway, he had drawn a variety of blueprints of new weapons, machinery. As for the gears deployed today, they were only a part of the whole picture.
Cohen’s new catapults design was easy to disassemble and camouflage. During transportation, it resembled the shape and size of a convertible wagon, however, when deployed, it would only take five men and 15 minutes to do the assembly and calibration. Cohen’s line production method has solved the problem of uneven firing range and power. Now that with a uniform production standard, all gears were manufactured with equalization.
As for operation, each catapult required 3 soldiers (one for winding up, two for reloading). The stony ammunition was delivered by horse trucks from the logistics. The whole action occupied 5 fewer men than its counterparts from other empires but with twice the firing rate. After multiple modifications, the machine’s final form took shape by the work of the dwarf’s craftsmanship and Cohen’s futuristic mastermind. The unparalleled power was astonishing, fierce, and persistent.
Carson City’s bulky wall was hence showered by the stone storm. The once proud and fearless soldiers have long been shielding themselves much less shouting out ‘we’re not afraid’.
Still, from time to time, one or two stones would hit a weak spot and penetrate it, along with several unlucky fellows.
After a short ten rounds, the crenels atop the wall have been destroyed. No living things were within sight. In the meantime, Cohen has arrived at the commanding post with Carlos, his Chief of Staff. Then with a silent gesture, Cohen took over the command.
Carlos nudged the commanding officer whom Cohen had replaced, whispered, “Watch and learn.”
“Position 1, 3, 5, 7 stand by! Two, four, six, eight raise half a unit higher!” Cohen cried, “Ten rapid fires!”
Hence the mentioned catapults extended their attacks. The dark rocks brushed past the top of Carson’s wall and landed on the fragile structures right behind.
Almost immediately, those buildings fractured. Whimper shuttered the sky. Dust-showered soldiers could no longer shelter themselves, hence they took cover to the street and began converging further into the city.
The city was again thrown into chaos after the army police had stabilized the situation.
“What is our king trying to attack with the catapults?” The duty commander asked quietly, “What if a stone lands on a civilian?”
“Think before you ask. His Grace is looking for the rebel’s heavy machinery.” Carlos told this young officer who lacked siege experience, “During such a war, the civilian houses are usually requisitioned by the army. We won’t harm a civilian at all.”
When the firing was over, only less than half of the shelters were still intact. The rebels’ goods and supplies have sustained enormous losses. Barrels of fire-oil were either leaking or dismantled. Bundles of feathered arrows were smashed into a hundred odd shapes. Startled horses galloped, dragging empty carriages behind them.
Judging from the number of rocks that had rained and the density of the attack, it seemed that Cohen Kheda intended to destroy this place rather than occupying it.
The rebel’s commander has eventually pulled out his counter-strike with several hundred variously-shaped stone shooters and began loading.
They had quite a few high-quality catapults. However, the firing range and power were limited by the height of the wall and the narrow streets. All rocks from Carson City had failed to reach Cohen Kheda’s army, they landed powerlessly, leaving nothing but a dent.
However, the location of the rebel’s machinery was detected by Cohen’s wingman scouts. The intel was quickly delivered to the king. With only a glance, Cohen calculated the needed adjustments.
“First position go left +5, forward +3; position 3 go right +1, forward +4; position 5 forward +6…” Cohen said his orders rapidly then waved his right hand forward, “Ten rapid fires!”
The half idle catapults acted accordingly then fired. The stones skimmed over the rebel’s rocks in mid-air and landed precisely on the targets!
Wooden machines had become firewoods. The rebel commander hastily ordered, “GET THE MACHINES BACK!”
But who would dare to go out of the shelter and into the stone rain to rescue the catapults? It would take more than five men to move such a piece of heavy machinery, let alone the pathway was full of obstacles.
Cohen sent his order one more time then stepped down from the commanding post. He nodded to the sub-commander aside, “Keep on smashing till their underwear aren’t in one piece.”
“Yes sir. At once!” He bumped his chest.
“Tell the logistics to keep the rocks coming.” Then Cohen turned his eyes back to Carson City’s wall, “Destroy all four walls after you block the gates. Take it slow, no hurry.”
“Roger, my king.”
“Carlos, send my order. Tell the siege levies to attack one after another.” Cohen said, “Are my new toy arriving yet?”
“You mean the special rocks?” Carlos replied, “They’ll be delivered this afternoon.”
“Looking forward to it.” Cohen smiled then told the rest, “Take it slow, no hurry at all.”
Once he’s out of the commanding position, Cohen went straight back to his pavilion, humming a ditty, all relaxed. One can’t even sense a hint of anxiety which was only natural in the time of war as if the war was already over for this king.
As soon as Carlos was done delivering Cohen’s orders and back to the pavilion, he saw his king was circling around a huge sand table.
“Right on time.” Cohen was still focused on the table, “Carlos, give me the riders from the First Legion and send them here.” Cohen pinpointed a spot.
Carlos looked closer, “Here is… the Third Legion.”
“Indeed, behind the Third Legion’s defense work.” Cohen nodded, “I need at least 5 regiments.”
“To reinforce the Third Legion?” Carlos asked, “What about here?”
“Leave it to the rocks. I’ve left the assault infantries here in case the rebels go desperate. But the fight here is too easy for the riders.” Cohen revealed a hint of a gentle smile, “Our primary objective is to annihilate the rebels, Carlos, instead of wasting youth here besieging this dead city.”
“Understood, I’m calling the boys.” The Chief of Staff knew his boss was just being temperamental because of the uneasiness brought by wearing the crown, therefore he made a silent sign then went along, “Boss, what does it have to do with youth?”
“It’s my heart talking.” Cohen chuckled, “And I suddenly have an impulse compose a poem…”
“O, gimme a break, commander.” Carlos quickly gave in, “I can’t listen to poems. My Liberal Art score was never above zero back in the Royal Academy. Master Lorenzo’s review for me was: this student’s imitation of which by imposing poem with military briefing was ill-founded and poorly carried out.”
“In that case, your graduation must be a thriller. The Royal Academy is not a friendly place for people like you.”
“Indeed, luckily my hard work on other subjects paid out. Besides, I got straight A’s on all the military subjects.” Carlos scratched his head, “Most importantly, I was involved in a pretty harsh street fight once and successfully apprehended several vile riffraff…”
“Oh, was it intense?”
“Sure, they were a bundle and I was all alone…”
“The two of you…” said Leila, she has been quietly standing aside, but she decided that she had to correct these two men’s misbehavior, “You need to focus.”
Both turned to look at Leila, both confounded.
“We are in a camp and fighting a war.”
“Are we?” Both vile men said, “We’re not fighting. Only the enemies are fighting us.”
Leila had to count three times silently to compress her urge to kick them out, “An army has left the capital. One of my elders spotted mounted levies from the sky.
“Your dragon elders are sure not busy.” Cohen said unsatisfied, “Why to wait till now to tell?”
“I merely received the news.” Leila was not intimated, she said gracefully, “While you two were talking poems, he passed over us.”
“Carlos, time for business. Make sure my specialty rocks are delivered directly to the Third Legion.” Cohen pointed a finger onto the map, “And I need my riders here asap.”
“Are you holding a council?”
“Only regiment commanders and logistics directors will suffice.”
“Yes sir.” Carlos exited the pavilion after a salute.
As Cohen Kheda’s long-range weapons kept on firing, Carson City’s army headquarter grew gloomier. The guarding troops have sustained huge casualties. Demage to the supplies was tremendous. Due to the lack of means to fight back, they could only tell the soldiers that the enemy infantry would attack soon.
After a whole day, the much-hoped infantry attack was amiss while the rebel’s frontline soldiers were driven hopeless by the flying rocks.
Such a way of attack confused the rebel’s commander. Based on tradition, catapult attacks will only last 3 hours at most, then will come the infantry. Most heavy machinery cannot withstand intense firing at such a high frequency. On the other hand, the attacking party had to consider potential reinforcement.
If Cohen Kheda cannot take the city before Luhrmann’s reinforcement, he’s gonna find himself being sandwiched.
However, Cohen Kheda, though young, was still an experienced commander. He would never make such an obvious mistake. However, with the little army he had, small chance that he’s gonna pull any schemes.
As a matter of fact, even the Dark Army’s most experienced officers were perplexed by the king’s strategy.
By dinner, the catapults were shut down and replaced by siege crossbows and elf marksmen. In the meantime, the mechanics can do maintenance to prepare for tomorrow’s attack.
The Chief of Staff has transferred 2 rider regiments and a big part of the afternoon’s provision to the Third Legion.
The council took place during supper.
Commander Cohen was as unpredictable as usual. He managed this important meeting unexpectedly amiable and easygoing. Cohen didn’t change much except for the title. All the attendees were allowed to enter with their weapons. Like always, they were seated by a super long table. What was different was there were food and drink on it.
As a livery announced the king’s arrival, all attendees rose. Some called out ‘sir’, some said ‘evening’, in two words, a short mess.
Cohen was in his ceremonial robe. He was not annoyed by the scene, instead, he greeted everyone, “Not bad, you all. Now sit down, no need for the formalities.”
“You are the king now, sir.” The commander of the mounted regiment was Carlos’s comrade and a Dark Army’s founding officer. He valued courtesy more than the academy’s recent graduates. He said, “We have to address you.”
“It’s the army. Since I’m here, my only identity is your commander. We were soldiers who had fought side by side in blood. The meaningless title is just… mundane… compared to the connection between us.” Cohen said, “And more to that, I ran away here from politics. If you still give me that crap, what difference does it make?”
That regiment commander, though was excellent at commanding, was not a good talker like Carlos. So he quickly understood Cohen, laughed straightforwardly, and sat down.
“Good, time for business. I assume you have questions about today’s attack.” Cohen’s eyes swept the table, “You can talk.”
Since the assault infantry was put idle today, its commander quickly stood up and said, “Yes, sir, we want to know your intention of today’s operation. We all saw it, today you only deployed the long-range attacks. But we really, really want to fight.”
“Easy, soldier. I brought you here, remember?” Cohen stood up, “And this is why I called a meeting. Once the attack begins, it won’t stop. We are going to fight our way to the capital, sweeping all rebels along the 400 miles long march.
If the attendees weren’t familiar with Cohen, what he just said would definitely stun them. But all acted normal except a bit of a surprise.
The Chief of Staff nodded to the livery hence the latter pulled open a huge scroll, revealing the empire’s map and surrounding area.
“Gentlemen, I’m telling you today’s attack will continue for another two days.” Cohen stood before the map, talked, “The purpose is to attract as many hostile troops as possible, in order to create a favorable condition for the Second Legion who’s gonna go directly to the capital.”
“I see…” The officers shared exciting looks.
“I’ve made amendment of our operation plan according to the rebels’ move. In their plan, Carson is the key. The city is where they had planned to have the final battle with us.” Cohen took the stick from the livery, said, “And in our plan, surrounding Carson City is just a smoke. The real final happens between the two defense works built by the Third Legion.”
“Could it be too much for Commander Moya?” An officer asked anxiously, “The rebel’s reinforcement could only be more.”
“You are right. But they will be fighting more than just Moya and his men. Honestly, I trust that they will finish the defense job. But I fear that they don’t have enough men to annihilate all 100, 000 enemies.” Cohen’s face grew seriousness, “Therefore I plan to direct 5~7 calvaries to reinforce the Third Legion.”
“What about Carson?”
“Infantry will take charge. Make them believe you’re going to attack anytime. Keep the long-range assault.” The Chief of Staff stood up, “When we destroy the reinforcement, they can only yield.”
“Understood.” The mounted regiment leader asked excitedly, “When are we leaving?”
“It’s a key battle. Keep it a secret. And keep up the supply. Good thing we still have 2 or 3 days to prepare.” Cohen’s stick pointed on the map, “This morning’s intel told me the 100, 000 are coming for us. By this time tomorrow, Moya will engage them. The Third Legion will not let them pass. Once they are stuck there, it’ll be an unobstructed route for the Second Legion.
“A hundred thousand? Are they riders? Big scene, boss!”
“My blood is boiling!”
“Take me with you, boss. I have zero medals!”
Seeing the eagerness in the army men’s eyes, Leila felt she was in a brigand’s lair instead of an army camp.
“Spare me that crap. It’s an important battle. Keep your eyes open.” Cohen struck the table with the stick, “Our ultimate objective is to help the Second Legion to march down the capital with lightning speed so that the rebels are greatly demoralized! By then, they will set smoke signals. If you see that, no matter what is happening in Carson, set your fire as well! The two fires will be our signal of the final battle!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
All officers stood up in accord. But the Chief of Staff remained calm. He knew it was only part of the whole plan, or it was just the part where modification was needed.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.