Chapter 130: Flames of War
Thank you ---------> proofer/Editor: nick0 (Pascal)<------------------------
Hi there folks, here's a new chapter for you all.
I would also like to take some time to help resolve any confusion that might have occurred due to Zhang’s talk with Zhuge Liang.
Basically Zhuge called Zhang out for pretending to be a regular soldier, while Zhang also pointed out that Zhuge Liang had pretended to be a regular soldier also. He then asked the reason as to why Zhuge Liang had requested an audience with him.
Zhuge Liang had said that he did not wish to fight while pointing out that if Zhang had not been so quick witted or if he got the impression that Zhang was an idiot, then he would have attacked once he returned to the Southern Fleet.
Zhang then said that there isn’t much difference between a fool and a genius, and said what if he was a fool who wanted to shed blood, in other words attack the southern fleet.
Zhuge Liang then said if Zhang was confident in winning then Zhang should go ahead and attack. To which Zhang said had Zhuge Liang not entered his ship and fell under his mercy then he would most likely not attack and retreat, however now that Zhuge Liang was within his grasp he could kill Zhuge Liang and cause the Southern Fleet to lose it’s commander.
Zhuge Liang responded by saying if Zhang killed him then Zhang would regret it. Zhang said he would regret it more if he let Zhuge Liang leave.
He then offers to give Zhang the world, but zhang said you can give what you don’t own. Then they go back on forth for a bit and Zhuge Liang leaves. :D
“Master Zhuge Liang, what will we do now?” Huang Xiao asked as his men rowed their lifeboat back toward the Southern Alliance's fleet.
“We will proceed with the second scenario that we planned for.” Zhuge Liang said with a smile as he looked back toward Zhang’s ship.
“I will relay orders to our men once we return to the ship, my lord. But I will have to leave it to you master to persuade the others.” Huang Xiao said.
“Of course, you just simply have to inform our men, I’ll deal with the generals from the other provinces.” Zhuge Liang said as he picked up a fan that was laying around on the boat and fanned himself.
“What an interesting person. Perhaps after this we can all sit down and have a fun chat.” He thought as he remembered his dialog with Zhang. Much like Sima Yi, he felt that Zhang was someone who could be said to be equals with him in terms of wit. To be able to meet others like himself, was a rare occasion for Zhuge Liang and one that he found very enjoyable.
Thus when Zhuge Liang and Huang Xiao returned to their fleet a meeting was called for and all of the generals present were to attend.
Late in the night, while most of Zhang’s men were fast asleep, the Southern Fleet was wide awake and busy at work. From what Zhang’s lookouts could see, it appeared that the Southern Fleet was doing something to their boats.
Thousands of men could be seen atop the decks, hauling large iron chains and attaching them to every single ship within the southern fleet.
Once the sun rose, a massive structure created by binding four hundred warships to one another was finished and begun moving over the water’s surface.
“Enemy movement!” One of Zhang’s sentries cried, alerting the rest of the fleet.
However by the time all of Zhang’s men were up and ready for battle the Southern Fleet had already made it around the reef.
“Sound the horns, we are moving north west. Let those bastards try to catch us.” Gan Ning’s voice could be heard, giving out orders.
“No, we will engage them.” Sima Yi said as he arrived besides where Gan Ning was.
“Engage them? Now that their ships are bound together, they can ram our ships and their men will swarm onto our decks and overwhelm our men.” Gan Ning said. Although doing what the Southern Fleet did might seem strange to some people, this was not something new to Gan Ning.
By chaining their ships together, they’d be able to create a more stable foothold for their men, while gaining the ability to swarm soldiers onto the enemy ships, also the ability to carelessly ram into other ships. Since the individual ships could only hold so many people, the soldiers on this massive platform that was created would surely outnumber any regular sized ship.
But of course there were setbacks, such as the risk of a fire attack and the decrease in mobility and speed. However these setbacks could be easily solved if the upper decks of the ships were soaked in seawater and if there were enough people rowing to increase speed.
“ Move the troop carrier ships back, move our commanding vessel to the front and have our men move the ballistae to the upper decks. If we sink enough of their ships, they’ll be rendered immobile, afterward it would take them some time to unchain the ships, allowing us ample time to move past them and directly to Dark Sea City.” Sima Yi said.
“Of course, since our lord gave you command, it is up to you whether we engage or not.” Sima Yi also said.
“You heard the man! Move our carriers back and arrange formations. Inform his highness that we will be engaging the enemy and ask him and the madams to move onto one of the carriers.” Gan Ning roared while his eyes glinted. After hearing, Sima Yi’s plan, he now viewed the massive fortress in front of him as his prey and path to obtaining riches.
Almost instantly after the orders were given out, the Red Mist Naval Fleet untied their sails and let theirs oars strike the water. Soon enough the massive commanding ship was placed at the center of a line of warships, while the troop carriers were a considerable distance away.
Atop one of the carriers, Zhang and the beauties were seated atop the golden throne that Zhang had looted from the Sai Empire, awaiting for the battle to begin. Zhang did not object to what Sima Yi and Gan Ning were doing because he had somewhat figured out what Zhuge Liang was going to do already.
“Fire at will! Sink those bastards!” Gan Ning commanded once the ballistae were all brought above deck.
Once the spear sized bolts were loaded and the mechanisms on the ballistae were released, hundreds of bolts pierced through the air and embedded themselves in the boats of the Southern fleet. There were also a few unlucky people who were pinned to the deck when a bolt shot through them.
Within the massive platform that the Southern Fleet constructed, dozens of generals who the various provinces sent to aid Zhuge Liang were cursing as they watch their men being impaled by the bolts.
Although ballistae have been around some time and were not a new creation, no one had ever thought of placing them onto ships and using them for battle at sea.
The power behind these bolts was terrifying as they ripped through the wooden hulls of dozens of ships. However the holes that they created, were a tad too small so even though some ships were run through by dozens of bolts they did not sink.
“Have the ships positioned on the wings of our formation move forward and fall into the crane wing formation.” Sima Yi said to Gan Ning. This formation would allow their ships to surround the enemy from three sides and allowing them to dispense more damage.
Like Zhang, Zhuge Liang was also watching the battle unfold, with his men stationed at the back row of the platform of linked ships.
“To think that they had those up their sleeves.” He said to Huang Xiao as they both witnessed the battle from the crow's nest of their ship.
“Had we not bounded the ships together, could they have used those to sink a considerable number of our ships.” Huang Xiao pointed out.
“Are the preparations complete?” Zhuge Liang asked.
“Yes my lord, a few of our ships were arranged into the other parts of the formation.” Huang Xiao replied.
“Good, all we have to do now is wait.”
While Zhuge Liang was waiting and watching the battle unfold, the two fleets finally engaged in direct combat. The massive platform rammed into two of Zhang’s ships and smashed their hull, causing them to capsize and sink. Although the ships that smashed into Zhang’s ships were equally damaged, they were able to keep afloat thanks to being chained to the other ships.
“Tie the pots of oil to the bolts and fire!” Gan Ning ordered his men. Although they did not have a large amount of oil lying around, he figured that all they needed to do was light a few ships on fire and it would spread to the other ships.
Soon dozens of bolts were shot into the air with pots of oil tied to them and when they impaled the ships, the pots of oil smashed apart and coated parts the hulls of the enemy ships with oil.
At blinding speeds and before the enemy could react, hundreds of fire arrows were shot from the ship's closest to the enemy, the moment these fire lit arrows touched the oil covered wooden ships a dozens flames were ignited. Of course since the wood was damped by water before hand, the flames were fairly small and did not burn fast enough to cause significant damage to the enemy.
However as quickly as the fires started, they were just as quickly put out. The sailors aboard the ships of the Southern Fleet, tossed hundreds of buckets down into the waters and quickly extinguished the flames.
“Dammit…” Gan Ning cursed as he saw the efforts of his men wasted.
It was then did a sudden breeze start to pick up. Fairly fast winds blew from the south and was blowing toward the north. That was when Zhuge Liang’s eyes glinted and he looked toward Huang Xiao and nodded.
“Begin our plan.” He said.
Moments later Huang Xiao pulled out a flare from beneath his arm and shot it into the air, signalling to his men. Once the flare was let an unbelievable chain of events occurred. Thousands of Zhuge Liang’s men who were clad in blue armor marched to the upper decks with bows and arrows, while hundreds of them appeared with axes.
The men with axes charged toward the ship's wooden railings that were used to chain all of the ships together and began hacking away. As their task was completed the chains that bound Zhuge Liang’s ships to the rest of the platform sank beneath the waves.
With the chains no longer bounding their ships to the rest of the platform, Zhuge Liang’s oarsmen began rowing and creating distance between themselves and the rest of the Southern Fleet. While all of this was happening, the people on the platform watched in confusion.
“Fire!!!” Huang Xiao commanded his soldiers from above the ship's crow’s nest where he and Zhuge Liang were. Soon the sky was bloated by flaming arrows that would soon shower down onto the Southern Fleet’s platform.
“Take cover!” Some of the men on the platform screamed.
Strangely enough, the arrows only descended upon a few ships that had no people on them. These ships of course were ships that belonged to Zhuge Liang.
If anyone was on the upper decks of these ships they would notice a slick coating on the wooden beams and the planks that made up the floors. If they were to go down to the lower decks, they would see hundreds of barrels filled to the brim with black powder.
The second the fire arrows landed onto the these ships that were left behind by Zhuge Liang, a raging flame ignited and in an instant the ships were engulfed in fire.
Fire then made it’s way into the lower decks and sparked the hundreds of barrels of black powder, setting of a massive explosion causing the surrounding ships to blow into bits. But that was not the end of it, the exploding ships would send fire and debris flying everywhere, causing even more of the ships that Zhuge Liang had left also to ignite on fire.
A terrifying chain reaction occurred as one ship after the other exploded. Things happened so fast that there was nothing anyone could possibly do to stop them. While many dozens of ships exploded and sank beneath the waves, many more caught fire.
With the winds blowing toward the north, serving as a fan, the flames burned ever more fiercely. In mere minutes Zhuge Liang had sank nearly three hundred ships, sending them to the bottom of the sea.
Once the final ships burned to a char and fell beneath the water’s surface, the Southern Fleet was no more. What remained of it were fifty warships that were under Zhuge Liang’ command.
Zhang could not help but be surprised as he witnessed what Zhuge Liang had done. Although he had a vague sense of what might occur, when it did happen, it happened in a much more explosive manner then he would expect.
The beauties also watched in amazement beside Zhang atop their golden throne. Lingqi was still obviously very seasick as anyone would be able to tell from looking at her composure, however she wanted to watch the battle unfold so she had crawled out of bed and joined Zhang and the other beauties.
“To be able to kill thousands without losing a single soldier, this man is a true genius.” Yuying said as she looked at the floating corpses and scattered debris that was all that was left of nearly three hundred ships.
“Brother, don’t let him on our ship anymore.” Ai said half jokingly.
“With this the southern seas are as good as ours, they probably scraped together every available warship that was at hand to stop us.”Ling said.
As the beauties and Zhang watched the aftermath of Zhuge Liang’s plan, fifty white flags soon fluttered in the wind symbolizing that Zhuge Liang wished to surrender.
Zhang’s men were filled with disbelief and joy as they watched the Southern Fleet disappear right before their eyes and once Zhuge Liang surrendered they could not help but break out in cheers. This was because once Zhuge Liang surrendered, there was no one else to stop them, meaning that they would not have to fight any battles for a while, meaning that many of their brothers in arms would be spared from a trip to the Underworld.
The happiest bunch were the bandits that Zhang had forced to become oarsmen for his ships, of course their happiness would not lost long because there were many more battles to come where they could serve as human shields for Zhang’s soldiers.
Thus marked the end of the first and perhaps last battle that the Red Mist Naval Fleet had to fight. A battle that will forever be remembered in the history books, the battle that showed how one genius was able to wipe out an army without losing a single soldier. A battle that would allow Zhang to control the southern seas.
It also marked the day when the Underworld received an increase in residents.
In the depths of the Underworld, the Yama could be seen with a scowl on his face as he was forced to work more due to the massive increase in souls that have been arriving.
“That little bastard… I let him marry my daughter and what does he do to repay me? He causes me to have to work more…” The Yama cursed as he found out that Zhang had a hand to play in many of these deaths.
From the soldiers who were commanded by the Jin Clan of Red Mist City, to the members of the Yu Sect, to the soldiers of the Heavenly Sword Army, countless other encounters and also the sailors and soldiers of the Southern Fleet whose deaths were somewhat related to Zhang.
“If I don’t get grandkids soon, I’m going to have to pay you a visit… You damn rascal, too busy out causing deaths than to spend time with my precious daughter.” The Yama said with furrowed eyebrows.