Chapter 72: Obstacles
After the run in with Guan Yu and Wei Yan, Zhang’s army did not encounter any other forms of resistance. Whenever they came upon a village or town it would be void of life and show signs of people leaving in a hurry. Thanks to this, Zhang’s army was able to advance at an astonishing pace through the Green Clover Province. What would have taken them weeks to transverse while facing resistance, only took a few days.
But of course, things could never go so smoothly, it did not take long for Zhang to encounter another obstacle in his path. This time the obstacle blocking Zhang came in the form of tall walls and sturdy gates.
“My lord according to the map, this city which is called New Leaf City is the last obstacle that stands between us and the rendezvous point.” Leng Zai reported to Zhang.
“Send a messenger and ask them to surrender.” Zhang commanded. Once they take control of New Leaf City then the march toward the rendezvous point and Green Clover City would only take a few days. But if Zhang ignored New Leaf City and marched passed it there was a chance they he could be attacked by enemy soldiers from behind when he engages in battle with the soldiers in Green Clover City.
As Zhang’s messenger rode toward New Leaf City, hundreds of banners depicting a snake coiled around a sword suddenly appear on top of the city walls. Then a barrage of hundreds of arrows pierced through the sky. Moments later Zhang’s messenger was shot full of arrows as his horse plunged to the ground.
“Damn….It’s the Heavenly Sword Army...” Zhang cursed to himself as he watched this scene unfold.
“Leng Zai, order the rest of the army to cut down the forest and take these construct siege weapons. I want our flags planted on the top of the city walls by nightfall.” Zhang said as he withdrew a few pieces of paper from his interspatial ring. On these blueprints, he had drawn a few simple designs for mobile siege rams and mobile siege towers. It was not like these things hadn’t been invented yet, but Zhang’s versions were much more refined compared to the crude designs everyone else was been using.
“Right away my lord!” Leng Zai replied as he took the blueprints from Zhang’s and hurriedly began ordering his subordinates to begin construction of the siege weapons. Soon the sound of thousands of blades slashing against the thick trunks of hundreds of trees became audible.
Zhang’s men had started cutting down trees before noon and by sundown they had constructed dozens of towering siege towers and four sturdy siege rams all propped on wooden wheels for easy transportation.
After completion of the siege towers and siege rams, all of the soldiers were given a few hours to rest and eat. Hundreds of campfires were lit and many columns of smoke spiraled into the air as the soldiers cooked their meals and readied themselves for the oncoming battle ahead.
With their stomachs full and their hearts steeled, Zhang’s men donned their black armor and sharpened their blades. Today would be the first time many of them participated in a siege. The soldiers under Zhang’s command could be considered veterans of a hundred battles, but most if not all of these battles took place in open areas where there were no walls to climb up, no gates to knock down, nor the chance of being doused with boiling hot oil.
But of course there was a first time for everything and it was better to experience their first siege against a small city like New Leaf City rather than a large city like Green Clover City. At Least here they held a huge numerical advantage and could retreat if needed.
The moon’s rays radiated down below, the glimmering of thousands of suits of armor was visible from miles away. Rumbling sound wheels spread as they moved along the rocky dirt road, with the massive siege towers and battering rams inching closer and closer to New Life City. After the sound of wheels, a thunder of hooves sounded out as Zhang’s cavalry soldiers followed behind.
For this battle Zhang had split up his army into three groups. One group consisted of archers who were atop the siege towers, another group consisted of infantry who would storm the walls and man the siege rams, and lastly were the cavalry soldiers who would charge into the city once the gates were broken.
As Zhang’s soldiers steadily approached countless torches were lit above the city walls and the clamor of thousands of men could be heard.
“Ready the oil!”
“Bring up more arrows!”
Shouts of from the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword Army echoed through the night as they prepared to defend the city. Once the siege towers were close enough the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword army began dipping their arrows into pots of oil and lighting them on fire. Soon thousands of fiery arrows shot through the air toward the siege towers.
However, before they could reach the towers, Zhang sprang into action. Using the power of the underworld heart he created a thin membrane of essence that encompassed a huge area. Once the arrows pierced this membrane they got coated with Zhang’s essence. After being fully covered by Zhang’s essence the thousands of arrows fell under his control and with a thought these arrows changed trajectory and headed back towards the soldiers in the Heavenly Sword Army, who were on top of the city walls.
Seeing their arrows shooting back toward them many of the soldiers who were quick witted ran for cover, while a few of the other soldiers were caught in a daze as they watch their own arrows pierce into them. Some of the fire arrows even landed in a few of the pots of oil that the soldiers had been using which sparked fires on the walls.
Once the pits of oil caught on fire, the top of the wall was a pure mass of hysteria. Unlucky soldiers were splashed by the oil, and became human torches as they ran about flailing their arms while screaming in agony. A few of them tried to roll around on the ground to put out the flames, however even then by the time the fire was put out their bodies had been badly burned.
While the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword army fell into disarray, Zhang’s siege weapons and soldiers had arrived and surrounded the walls of New Life City.
“Knock down the gates! Begin attack! Kill every soldier of the Heavenly Sword Army! A reward of one hundred gold coins for whoever brings me the head of the enemy general!” Zhang roared as lifted the Sky Piercer Halberd into the air.
“Brother, couldn't we just knock down the walls using my whip?” Ai asked from atop of her Inferno Wind Walker, as she gripped the Black Thorn whip that was tied to her waist.
“It's best to not show off our triumph cards too early.” Zhang replied with a smile on his face as he put his hand on her shoulder.
Moments later loud banging sounds echoed through the city as Zhang’s soldiers began using the siege ram against the four gates. A rhythmic thunder could be heard each time the siege rams impacted the thick wooden city gates.
Normally the defending soldiers would shoot arrows downward or pour hot burning oil on down on the soldiers manning the siege rams, but this time they were too preoccupied with the archers standing on top of the siege towers.
The former members of the Yu Sect excelled when it came to using the bow and arrow, which made the situation even more disastrous for Heavenly Sword Army. Zhang’s soldiers shot their arrows with deadly precision, making it so that almost every arrow they released claimed a life.
While the battle was raging on, a skinny weasel like man walked up the city walls dressed in the standard purple armor of the Heavenly Sword Army, but unlike the rest of the soldiers his helmet was finely decorated with gold. This clearly meant that unlike the rest of the men on the walls he was a highly ranked officer within the army.
“Shield men move up to the walls! The rest out of you put out these fires!” The sly looking general commanded.
“Ri-right away General Zhuge Dan!” A soldier of the Heavenly Sword Army yelled in reply as teams of men rushed up to the walls with buckets of water in hand. After countless buckets of water were splashed atop the city walls, all of the fires were doused and only a few charred bodies remained. After the fires were extinguished teams of shield men ran up the stone steps that led to the top of the city walls.
“Brace yourselves! The enemy siege towers are almost here!” General Zhuge Dan yelled as he pulled out a thin looking rapier from its scabbard and raised it into the air.
Soon the dozens of siege towers finally arrived directly in front of the city walls. Moments later the fronts of the siege towers swung open and created a bridge from the tower onto the top of the city walls. Once the bridge latched itself onto the city walls, countless soldiers wearing black armor poured out from the siege tower and onto the city walls.
“Repel the enemy! Don’t let them gain a foothold!” Zhuge Dan yelled as his rapier plunged into one of Zhang’s soldiers right in one of the gaps in the poor man’s armor.
The soldiers around Zhuge Dan followed his example and charged into battle with their weapons in hand and their shields held high. As they saw it, Zhuge Dan was a general worth dying for, because he was willing to fight on the front lines and risk death along with them. The morale of the soldiers in the Heavenly Sword Army always shot through the roof when Zhuge Dan was present.
But in the end there was only one Zhuge Dan while there were dozens of siege towers attacking the city from all sides. Although they could not create a foothold where Zhuge Dan was, Zhang’s soldiers were able to do so in many other parts of the city walls.
Down below, within the city, hundreds of soldiers could be seen crowding behind the four city gates. These men could be seen piling anything they could find behind the city gates to create a barricade in case the siege rams knocked down the gates.
“Quickly! Bring whatever you can find and block off the area around the city gates! We can’t let them into the city!” A soldier wearing purple armor yelled as he helped a ground of his comrades lift a heavy wooden column to the gate. These men had just knocked down a house that was built by the city gate and were using pieces of it to help create a blockade.
But their efforts were fruitless, because before they could reach the city gate with the wooden column, a loud bang made them stop in their tracks and the sound of splintering wood started ringing in their ears.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Soon the tip of the siege ram could be seen sticking out from the wooden gate. Not long after a large section of the gate was smashed in as the siege rams continued its assault on the gates.
The sound of cheering could be heard from the soldiers outside of the gate as the hole in the city gate grew wider and wider with every passing second.
“The gate fell! Man the barricade! Don’t let them pass!” Many of soldiers in the Heavenly Sword Army yelled as if their voices would help them stop the incoming attack.
However, once the city gate fell none of the attacking soldiers rushed in, instead, dozens of clay jars filled with lamp oil, was thrown at the barricade. Moments later a fiery arrow was shot in and ignited the barricade that the soldiers inside had desperately built. A few of them who were splashed by the lamp oil even caught on fire, just like their comrades on the city walls had done.
While the city gate fell, the walls above them were not much better off. Zhang’s soldiers had gained footholds and taken control of multiple sections of the walls and were steadily pressing the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword Army back.
Seeing this, Zhuge Dan could only order his men to retreat back to the inner city walls. Like most cities, New Leaf City was split into two sections. One which was for the general public created from the lower and middle class while the other for the wealthier and higher social class and to separate them was were walls.
“Everyone retreat! Retreat to the inner walls! Move back to the city lord’s mansion!” Zhuge Dan yelled.
Of course while Zhuge Dan and his men fled, their backs were wide open and Zhang’s soldiers moved in for the kill. With their backs facing the enemy, Zhuge Dan’s men fell one after the other as they desperately ran for the inner gates.
Down below huge flames danced about in front of the city gates, but from out of nowhere large waves of water gushed in and extinguished them. Once the fire was extinguished hundreds of foot soldiers rushed in to clear the debris on the inside of the gate.
After clearing the debris, the men pulled out green flares from their pockets and shoot them into the air. Shortly after, the thundering of thousands of hooves pounding against the ground could be heard heading inside.
“Kill them all!!” A mounted soldier roared he charged in through the city gate.
Once Zhang’s cavalry made it inside the city walls, all hell broke loose. Soldiers clad in black armor could be seen impaling the fleeing enemy soldiers, while not showing a hint of emotion.
By now all of the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword Army had either retreated behind the inner city walls or died trying, in the meantime Zhang’s soldiers had completely occupied the city's outer walls and entered the city.
Zhang could be seen riding into the city along with the three beauties following behind him.
“Anyone who is caught pillaging or harming the citizens of the city will be punished according to military law!” Zhang yelled to his men.
“My lord! The enemy has holed themselves up behind the inner city gates.” A soldier ran up to and reported to Zhang.
“Hmph how long do they think they can hide out in there?” Zhang sneered as he looked toward the direction of the inner city walls. Despite not being as tall as the outer city walls, the inner city walls would still require siege ladders to be used.
“Brother, can I use the whip now?” Ai said with a grin as she looked at Zhang with stars glittering in her eyes. Now that they had the Heavenly Sword Army completely surrounded, there was no longer a need to be afraid of revealing their hidden trump cards.
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