Chapter 115 War for Border Town (Part 1)
When the enemy finally entered his field of vision, Van’er immediately noticed the heavily armed knights who were riding on huge horses, wearing bright and dazzling armor and slowly riding towards Border Town. It was usually the case that the rank of a knight was much higher than that of the common town’s people, and when he was suddenly confronted with about one hundred of these, he had to take some deep breaths to calm himself.
Van’er felt how his palms became sweaty, it was just like the time on the wall when he had to face the demonic beasts for the first time, but this time he faced creatures that were the same species as himself – the joined forces of Longsong Stronghold’s Nobility.
No, That’s wrong. He angrily spat out and threw his former thought aside, You think they’re the same as yourself? When have the nobles ever treated you as if you were of the same species as themselves? He asked himself mockingly.
The only goal of their trip is to snatch Border Town away from us and bring the Northern Slope Mine back under their control. More importantly, they even intend to drive His Royal Highness out of the western territory, as a member of the First Army I cannot simply allow this.
During yesterday’s pre-war lecture, His Royal Highness had made it clear that Timothy Wimbledon, the brother of His Royal Highness, had conspired against the throne and in the end even killed his own father King Wimbledon III for it. Originally these happenings between the royalty and aristocracy, hadn’t mattered that much to him – Is there any difference for me if the King was to change?
But now that Duke Ryan wanted to grasp this opportunity to take His Highness’s territory away, this he now found totally unacceptable!
When he thought about it, just how had his life been before His Highness had come to Border Town? If he was remembering correctly, the former Lord was actually a Count who had rarely shown himself. The acquisition of the furs was done by his personal guards who often used their weapons to lower the prices. And when the Months of the Demons arrived they would all flee to live in the slums of Longsong Stronghold and end up suffering during that whole time.
But today, under His Highness’ control the life in Border Town had become better and better, with changes being visible for everyone to see. Van’er thought, for example, when the miners had achieved a higher output they would also receive a higher payment. And even after His Highness put this black machine into the North Slope Mine, the additional output had still counted for the miner’s work. Whether it was when building the walls, or mining gravel everyone was paid on time. During this whole winter, there wasn’t even one person who had frozen or starved to death.
Of course, the biggest change was the implementation of the militia – no, now it’s called the First Army.
Having them guarding the town, we commoners don’t need to huddle together in these wooden sheds begging for others to give us food. If the Prince isn’t here any longer, would the Duke still allow for the First Army to keep on existing?
Van’er took another deep breath and wiped his palms against his clothes. No, he certainly would not allow it. The nobles of the stronghold don’t care for the lives of us commoners, it is exactly as His Highness had said before: Only an army composed of the commoners will be willing to fight for the lives of other commoners.
Van’er raised his head so that he could keep the left part of the sky inside his field of view, there in the distant he could see a small black dot circling around, when one was only taking a casual look, anyone would think it was actually just a large bird. But in truth, it was the artillery intelligence commander – Lightning, who was using the trees growing on both sides of the road as cover while constantly observing the enemy’s movements. When she flew back, Van’er also noticed that as long as she did not take the initiative to fly over open areas, the people on the ground would only be able to see tree branches if they were to look upwards, so it was nearly impossible for them to detect that there was a witch that was flying over their heads.
After a quarter of an hour, Lightning flew closer to their frontal position while flashing a green ribbon.
This was signaling to them that the enemy had entered a range of 1000 meters and that they should prepare to start shooting. Van’er didn’t know how far the distance His Highness called “1000 meters” was, but when he saw the green signal, he just subconsciously followed the rules of the comprehensive exercise, giving the command to load the cannon and adjust the angle.
It didn’t take the four groups of gunners a long time to complete their tasks, the canon angle was adjusted to the third setting while the gunpowder and the solid artillery shell were also inserted into the cannon’s barrel.
He had thought that after he had stood on the wall and fought against the demonic beasts he could regard himself as an experienced fighter and also thought that he was talented, but today he came to discover that there was still a huge distance between himself, Iron Axe and Brian.
During the afternoon assembly, he’d had great problems trying to calm his heart. But these two men, when they led their groups to the appointed area, they not only looked as if there was nothing special about today, no, he could even hear from Brian’s voice just how eager he was to fight. But he himself until now was unable to calm himself. With a bit of shame in his heart, he had to acknowledge that even the Rodney brothers seemed to be acting better than his own performance. This thought made Van’er feel very depressed.
He nervously licked his lips and checked Lightning’s position once again.
But at this moment, the enemy’s movement slowed down by a lot.
“What are they doing?” Rodney asked.
“That’s currently unknown,” Cat’ s Paw answered. “For me, it seems like they are adjusting their formation? But they still look a little chaotic.”
“They are waiting for the other troops,” explained Jop with a slightly trembling voice, “It’s impossible for knights to fight alone, they always need a large number of people to follow them.“
“How do you know all this?” Nelson wasn’t convinced.
“I have already seen it! A knight will always take along at least two squires, while there will be another dozen serfs who have to handle their foraging,” he began to count it off on his fingers, “First, there is the Duke, as the Lord of Longsong Stronghold, he has at least a hundred knights, right? Then there is the light cavalry, who are at least three hundred people. Plus, the counts and viscounts who have their own territory… Many more! And don’t forget the mercenaries, they have all already tasted blood themselves, so they won’t even blink as they kill you! They will do anything for money! While we only have three hundred people.”
Actually, less than three hundred people, Van’er corrected in his mind. We only have two hundred and seventy soldiers armed with weapons, according to His Highness’s explanation it is because we lack in the area of production capacity. Now those who did not have guns of their own were sent to the artillery teams, they were to handle preparing the ammunition for the four cannons. When Van’er discovered that they were a lot slower than his own group, he also felt a lot better.
“The mercenary, they’re coming!” Jop cried out.
Van’er looked towards the enemy, there he could see a group with various kinds of armors taking the front in their battle formation, they did not ride, nor did they march in line, they just walked in small groups of twos or threes to the middle of the field. While the knights scattered to both sides, it seemed as they were giving up their position for the mercenaries. After a quarter of an hour, the Duke’s allied forces were finally ready.
At this time, a knight came riding out of the enemy’s camp into the direction of Border Town. Van’er became so nervous he almost gave the command to fire.
What should I do? Van’er looked once more at the sky, but he was still unable to discover Lightning, while the enemy was constantly coming closer while waving a white flag.
“He is the messenger sent by the Duke,” Jop muttered, “He should be coming over, trying to persuade the Prince.”
“It’s none of our business,” Rodney squatted down behind the canon and aligned his line of sight with the centerline of the barrel. “Leader, we need to adjust the canon, most of the knights have left the impact zone.”
During their previous practice with live ammunition, they were repeatedly taught, that the canon attack range was represented by the centerline of the barrel, so if they wanted to hit their target, they had to make sure that the target overlapped with the barrel’s centerline. So the five men began at the same time to turn around the canon until the canon once more pointed in the direction of the knights.
The messenger who had come in alone was then escorted by Carter to the back of their defense line, but Van’er knew that this move of the Duke was just a waste of time, the Prince would never agree to surrender.
Suddenly, Lighting abruptly flew in the direction of the defensive line, wildly waving a yellow flag in her hands.
The yellow signal meant that the opponent had entered the 800m range, at this distance, they had the chance to hit the target with a solid projectile. It also meant, that as long as the gunner captain didn’t prohibition firing, the gunner teams could fire at will.
His other team members also noticed the signal, so they all looked into his direction, and after he nodded once he took a deep breath then shouted, “Fire!”