Chapter 111 Battle of Eagle City (Part 2)
The first batch of freedmen who served as the human meat shields didn't meet any resistance and were able to successfully climb the earthen slope.
On top of the ramp formed from earth's slope, the defenders had built a wooden fence to block the attacking forces. The fence wasn't completely closed, instead, it had many openings for spears. During the time the attackers were busy destroying the logs of the fence, the defenders could simply stand behind it and use their spears to kill the enemy.
However, contrary to Duke Frances expectations, the defenders who should have been standing behind the fence were nowhere to be seen. The entire wall was currently in an unguarded state. So his vanguards carrying their axes were able to quickly open up some gaps in the wall. After the logs were out of the way, the rush towards the city began. A moment later, the wooden gate was also opened.
"Let's go," said the Duke, and shook the reins of his horse and led the rest of his troops to the gates. From the beginning of the siege until when the gates were opened, less than thirty minutes have passed, so what the hell was Garcia Wimbledon doing?
Frances frowned, even if she didn’t have much combat experience, she should still have known that she had to leave a small group of personal guards or hired mercenaries who had been bought with a lot of money and didn’t fear death behind to block the enemy's offensive for as long as possible. Only in this way could she gain enough time for the larger group to flee.
The 3rd Princess is clearly not a stupid person. Otherwise, it could not be explained why she was able to take over the South so quickly. So why hadn't she arranged for any men to defend the wall? Building a solid defense, even with well-placed traps in it, but with no one to operate it, is only a waste of money. Frances thought, it's decided now, my personal guards will be the first group to step into the city and investigate whether the situation is safe.
But later, when the captain of his personal guards came back to report, he reported that even within the city it was still the same situation, they hadn't met any resistance. However, there were indeed some wood and stone obstacles, but after his men had ordered the local inhabitants to work, those were soon removed.
Hearing this report, Frances no longer hesitated and began to lead his remaining troops towards Eagle City. He had followed King Wimbledon III on many campaigns during the years and could be counted as a veteran, so how could he let himself be scared off by a little girl? Contrary to what one might expect the time invested into analyzing the enemy’s steps for mistakes was not wasted. Because if he could wait until all the gates were captured, he could directly ride through the city and save a lot of time.
When he stepped through the gate, Duke Frances could smell something with a pungent smell. It wasn’t the smell of rotting corpses which often appeared on battlefields, but rather more like a mixture of pine nut oil, tangerine peel, and incense. If someone took a deep breath, they could even imagine it to be a perfume.
What is this smell? But when he observed his surroundings once more, he was unable to detect anything unusual. The only thing which didn't seem right was that the ditch for the drainage system was blocked, and the sewage was overflowing out of its channel, slowly flowing along the ground. It had accumulated so much filth that he couldn’t tell how long it was that they hadn't been cleaned, but when the sun fell on these dark substances, it reflected in five splendorous colors.
Probably the smell comes from this pile of sewage, Frances shook his head, clearing it of this unnecessary thought, then began to lead his unit further to the castle district.
Since they took over Eagle City, they naturally had to go to the Castle and the City Hall, and look to see if there was worth looting. Of course, it was very likely that Garcia had already plundered the city, so there shouldn’t be many gold royals left, but some of the larger crafts and ornaments were also very suitable trophies. Exactly for this occupation Frances had brought his own food carriages along. Regardless of the condition of the loot, everything would be loaded on the carriages. As for those mercenaries, most probably they were already looting the shops and the surrounding farms.
Well, for now, this doesn't matter. It’s more important that Duke Joey is already dead, and it's still unsure who will become his successor. So at this time it’s a close battle, to decide under whose rule this city will fall.
When Duke Frances entered the castle, he thought that he had come to the wrong place.
From the outside it appears to be the castle, he thought. But they hadn't only taken all of the coins, no, they had cleared out the entire basement. They took all of the clothes and didn't even leave behind a single corn in the grain storage. The several frescoes hanging on the walls were also all taken, leaving only blank walls behind. There were no longer any books in the bookcases and they also hadn't forgotten to take the bed from the Lord's bedroom either. In short, the whole castle had been stripped clean.
Was this something that was done in a hasty retreat? Frances gradually became more uneasy. If this hadn't been planned out from the start, the castle wouldn't have been cleared so thoroughly.
Right at the moment he wanted to go to the City Hall to see if was the same situation over there, a thick smoke suddenly began to emerge through the North Gate.
"What's the matter, is something burning?"
"I do not know, Your Excellency, I have already ordered Moliere to go and take a look," the Captain of his guard answered. "Perhaps it’s a fire that has been deliberately set by the enemy."
Yes, that must be the case. The Duke's first thought was that this all was a trap, but then he realized that this method of setting the gates on fire was meaningless. After all, they could easily bypass the gates, they only had to cross the slope and then they were already outside. Setting something on fire, without any additional attack was meaningless, after all, an organized team wouldn’t need much time to put the fire out.
The correct use of this tactic would be to set up soldiers at the inner side of the walls, who would wait until the fire had expanded all over the city, and then when the enemy’s troops started to panic that would be the time for their own surprise attack to start. If it was it’s done like this, it can easily disrupt the enemy’s formation, maybe even force them to retreat. But as he had said before, with no one to operate the trap, it was meaningless.
At this moment, out of the direction of the three other gates black smoke also began to emerge. And when he looked back at the fire at the North Gate he could see that it was spreading at much too fast a rate; as if the whole surroundings had been filled with straw. It didn't take long until the first cries from the civilians could be heard, indicating that some of their houses were already lit.
This can't be right... Duke Frances thought, the fire is coming from the north gate, but there was nothing with which to feed the fire, there was only an open space! But if there was nothing, how can the fire spread so fast? Wait... suddenly a horrifying thought popped up within his mind, could it be that Garcia Wimbledon had secretly recruited a witch?
Frances reassuringly touched the God's Stone of Retaliation which hung around his neck, calming quickly beating heart. Hopefully, it is only a fire ignited by a witch, as long as that is the case I can directly walk through it. After all, with this stone that demonic fire simply cannot hurt me. And furthermore each member of my personal guards is also wearing this thing, so this fire can't threaten us at all. As for the freedmen, who have no money to donate to the church, I just don't have the time to attend to them.
Regardless of the fact that he possessed such a stone, the city had still become dangerous, so he decided to flee to the war camp at the South Gate. From there he could not only monitor Eagle City, but also wait for the new King to return with the cavalry. When he thought his next steps through, he immediately gave the Captain of his guards the command: "We will leave the city through the South Gate, during the ride you will blow the horn to gather all of our troops."
"As you command!"
Everyone immediately went on their way, but when their group came near the South Gate, the flames had begun to cover the whole city, already setting many civilian houses on fire. The heat emitting from the fire became so hot that they were forced to retreat. In addition, the commoners who were originally hiding inside their houses behind closed doors, were now on the streets and fleeing from the flames. Crowding the whole streets with people. They became so many, that even the sword swinging knights were unable to move forward. There was nothing which would help against this panic stricken people fleeing to the only open space available which wasn't burning yet. At this moment it seemed as if everything would be consumed by the surrounding flames and smoke.
"Everyone calm down; we have to get to the well. From it we can draw water to fight this fire," Duke Frances quickly gave some orders, "Don't try to save the houses, they are out of control. Just extinguish the burning obstacles on the streets, so that we get a path out of the city. Don’t stop the horn signal, let other people know where we are!”
"Sir!" shouted a knight who came from the direction of the city center. The knight didn't even wait until his horse had stopped, instead, he immediately jumped off the horse. When he took a closer look he discovered that it was the knight sent to the North Gate by his Captain. "Sir, at the North Gate we are unable to get the fire under control!"
"What did you say?" Frances couldn’t believe it, so he had to ask again, "You are unable to fight the fire?"
"The flames are burning on this black water," she said quickly, "Not only is it not extinguished with water, it is even quickly spreading over it, and now the whole northern city is burning!"
"An immortal fire," Frances murmured, “Yes, it has to be demonic fire.” And then the Duke shouted, “Do not panic! This is Garcia taking advantage of the ability of this evil witches! As long as you wear God's Stone of Retaliation you're safe! Even if these flames seem frightening, they simply cannot hurt you!”
"So that’s the reason, you were so benevolent." Moliere subconsciously stroked her chest, "Sir, what should we do?"
"With the God’s Stone of Retaliation we don't need to fear anything! Everyone launch, we will break through!" The Duke waved his hand, "These demonic fire as long as we wear the God’s Stone of Retaliation, it will disappear without a trace!" He paused, "Moliere, you will lead the first group of people out, I will stay here and wait for the people who are still coming.”
The female knight nodded in confirmation, "Sir, you have to take care of yourself, pay attention that you don’t!"
Then she turned around and rushed without any hesitation towards the raging fire at the end of the street.
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