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268 Like Fish in a Barrel

 Dave was sitting on the throne room. He had already given his orders, but he wasn't finished yet. There were many things he had to prepare and oversee.

The sun had already came down, but he was having second thoughts about his plan. One day was too short for him to prepare for a siege and he was under pressure. He was feeling unease, his plans had been laid down to defend against the siege. He even did mind simulation to all that could go wrong and prepared countermeasures but he was still felt that something wasn't right. Unable to shake off that bad feeling Dave ignored it. He didn't have the luxury to think about things that might or might not happen.

Dagla and Samael entered the throne room together followed by a small boy.

The small boy trailed after Dagla, carefully looked around. He was fidgeting, agitated, the boy grabbed the hem of Dagla's robe.

"Your majesty, I have information about the enemy numbers and their weaponry. I also know where they have set camp," Samael said. He handed Dave a scroll.

Dave took it and thanked Samael. Turning to Dagla Dave asked, "Did you get the explosives from the academy?" Dave asked.

"Yes, I did. I also oversaw the trebuchet tests, everything is well and they were accurate. We have planted fifty barrels of explosives in the fields."

"Good Job. Who is this?" Dave asked looking at the nervous kid.

"This is my apprentice, Du'Rhaza. He said something to me about the forest and I thought I better bring him to you."

Du'Rhaza! Dave almost laughed, the kid was cute compared to the ice lich he knew.

"Speak," Dave said, mimicking the undead king's way of speech.

"Y-your majesty. The enemy can walk through the forest and attack from the north when we least expect it. So, can't we use the forest to trap them?"

Dave nodded, "You are right. Dagla, see if you can have lumberjacks and people who know the forest well enough, have them place traps, nets and pitfalls for our enemies. Also, use half of our oil supplies and spread it in the forest."

"You plan on burning the forest, your majesty?"

"Not all of it. Just half, I have a feeling they will try to come through the forest, so it's better to shut them down and have the enemy forces focus on only two sides."

"It shall be done your majesty," Dagla bowed and took Du'Rhaza with him.

"Samael, I need another favor."

"As you command your majesty."

"I need a force to infiltrate the enemy . Burn their food supplies and see if you could get your hands on any of their plans.."

"Very well." Samael disappeared.

Dave opened the scroll Samael had handed to him.

***

Vinlandian forces are advancing with a fifty thousand strong.

5,000 heavy cavalry.

30,000 light infantry.

5,000 heavy infantry.

10,000 archers.

5 siege towers.

30 trebuchets.

5 Battering rams.

***

The Vinlandians were well equipped. Though Dave had the advantage as a defender, the enemy had more troops and war equipment to simply overwhelm him if he was not careful. Dave had to cut down their numbers, and regular traps weren't the way to go.

All the traps were for this very reason. But traps could be dismantled, and plans could be thwarted. A war had many unexpected variables. He had to step up his game a notch.

Dave left the throne room and left the palace going through the courtyard.

King's Guard saluted Dave as he walked past.

The city was brightened with torches that lit the dark night. The sound of continuous pickaxes hitting the stone walls was like the continuous beating of drums in war. A heavy atmosphere covering the city. A war was coming but the citizen were unafraid. They believed in their king.

People made pit traps in front of ballistae installed in the streets Bbags of sand and wooden spike walls blocked the city streets. Several archers and knights were sharpening their weapons or tending to their bows behind the barricades.

The buildings were locked and their doors and windows barricaded.

Dave continued walking through the city accompanied by two knights. Whenever he crossed with workers, they bowed and he would nod and thank them for their hard work.

Dave walked until he arrived at the city gate. Two steel portcullises were linked to steel chains. The operating mechanism was a lever next to the gate.

Dave walked through the gate and oversaw the open field. Stroking his chin Dave gestured with his other hand at one of the knights.

When the knight came over Dave said, "Have twenty soldiers dress in work clothing and manning the fields on the morrow. I want the enemy to think we are unprepared."

"As you command, your majesty." The knight bowed to Dave and went to relay his order..

Dave had one last thing to do

Dave turned to the other knight and said, "Prepare armor a good weapon and a shield for me."

"Y-your majesty! Are you planning on joining the war?"

"Well, of course, that's where all the fun is," Dave smiled.

But for Dave, it was not just for fun. Right now, he was a king and for a king to join a war meant only one thing, to bolster the morale of the soldiers.

"As you command!" the knight called two other knights over and informed them with Dave's request.

"Your majesty!" A female voice called to Dave from above the city walls.

Dave looked up, Dementi was looking at Dave from atop the city walls.

"We have archers set up."

"Good, have most of them hide, I only want a few to appear to our enemies."

"Very well, your majesty." Dementi gave a command to the archers on the wall, most of them crouched in waiting.

Dave went back to the palace. Three knights came over and brought armor for Dave.

Dave was very familiar with the armor, it was the same armor the undead king usually wore.

A black set of plate and greaves, with a kite shield and a light-devouring black curved sword.

A full black steel helmet, shoulder pads locking a black cape in place.

Dave equipped the armor and tried to inspect it.

***

Fail to inspect!

You are in a simulation of the past in a human setting.

Use of magic is extremely limited and your original status screen is not a display of your current power.

Death in this quest is a fail condition.

***

Dave needed to be careful in this fight, a single mistake and everything is over. But this didn't deter him from fighting alongside the soldiers. He had to increase their moral in the fight.

Dave sat on his throne waiting for the morning.. Samael and Dagla updated Dave regularly on the trap making and work going on in the city. When dawn came, everything was ready and only the enemy forces were missing.

Dagla stood next to the throne, waiting for Dave's orders.

"Dagla, did the alchemy academy prepare what I asked them?"

"Yes your majesty, we have enough mercury to use."

"Good, start pouring it into the river," Dave said.

"As you command," Dagla walked out of the throne room to execute Dave's command.

Samael strode into the throne room, "Your majesty! They are here!"

"Give the order! Bring the gate only halfway down. This will make the enemy think that the gate is stuck. Give the order for the archers on standby to thin down the enemy forces. The remaining archer forces must wait for the order to attack.."

"As you command!" Samael left, shouting orders to his subordinates..

Dave walked to the palace balcony, he was looking at the approaching army.

50,000 man army looked like an incoming black tide. Soldiers pushed five large wooden structures across the plain toward the city.

The soldiers that Dave ordered to impersonate peasants working the field, ran through the city gate. as Dave predicted, the army that was walking slowly ordered a whole section of infantry to charge the city gate.

From the point of view of the enemy, the gate looked to be stuck. It only went halfway down and couldn't close. This was an opportunity they could not miss. One of the army generals ordered a whole infantry section to charge the gate.

Enemy infantry ran across the fields to the city. Dementi ordered the archers standing on the walls to shoot. The enemy numbers were so great that most of the arrows that were shot hit someone running.

The men that were shot fell and were crushed under the foot of the rest of the charging army. This caused disorder in the Venlandian ranks. People fell and died meaningless deaths even before the fight started.

Barrage of arrows rained down on the enemy, taking dozens of lives with every arrow volley. But the sheer number of the Venlandian forces was too big to show any noticeable decrease in their numbers even after the rain of arrows culled hundreds of lives.

The enemy infantry went through the gate and poured into the city. Everything was going according to Dave's plan. As the foot soldiers went through the gate they spread through the empty street.

Dave's forehead was dripping with sweat, he was stressed as this part of his plan was the most crucial.

Wanting to control the gate, a few Vinlandian soldiers went to the gate lever and pulled the lever up. They tried to lift the gate, it didn't move. Dave had already ordered the reinstallation of the gate to be controlled from above the city walls instead of from on the ground.

More enemy units were running toward the city. They were exhilarated at the thought that the enemy was unaware of the attack on the city. They funneled toward the city gate, their numbers making it hard for them to get through inside the city. some of them brought ladders and placed them against the walls then started to climb.

The soldiers spreading across the city streets began to fall into the pitfalls.When Dave judged enough enemy soldiers were inside the city. He raised his arm then brought it down, signalling Dementi to start the second part of his plan.

The concealed archers stood up and began showering the enemies inside and outside the city with arrows. Shock and panic spread through the enemy rank, they had just realized that they have been led into a trap, yet before they could retreat to safety Dementi chopped at a rope linked to the portcullis, bringing the gates down.

The spiked ends come down crushing soldiers under them and locked the ones that were inside the city from going back out.

Some of the archers on the wall poured boiling water and burning oil on the soldiers climbing the ladders. The oil and hot water burnt their skin and flesh, setting them on fire.

More archers appeared from hiding atop the barricaded city buildings and shot arrows down on the soldiers spreading through the streets. When the enemy soldiers crossed halfway through the city, they were met with Arotsa soldiers managing ballistae in the middle of the street.

The ballistae were shot, their bolts pierced through several enemy soldiers at once, pinning them into walls like a kebab skewer. Dave's foot soldiers were hiding inside some of the buildings came out, and charged the surprised enemy forces in the streets, slaughtering them.

Arrows kept pouring down on the enemy forces, even when the enemy tried to shoot back their arrows, they were disadvantaged due to the height difference. Their arrows rarely hit anyone.

Dementi was calling shots at the walls, she made sure that no enemy soldier made it to above the walls. They dropped stones on the enemy and hot sand. They even knocked away some of the ladders, dropping them on the enemy forces, crushing soldiers under the ladders.

When most of the army was close to the city, Dave pointed his hand forward from the palace balcony. A soldier recognized Dave's gesture and lit a torch, signaling the trebuchets to shoot their first volley.

Boulders coated with inflamed oil were shot at the enemy ranks. When the boulders touched the ground, they smashed through several enemies crushing them, and left a fiery trail in their wake. Black powder that was mixed with sand caught fire and spread between enemy soldier legs and ignited barrels buried underground. The barrels exploded killing off dozens of soldiers that were above them and injuring many more.

Explosions echoed through the battlefield creating mayhem and chaos. The soldiers didn't know what was happening, they were at a loss. The chaos increased in the battlefield was making the enemy soldiers restless. They didn't know when another explosion might happen or if they were standing right above an explosive keg..

***

You have slain one of the enemy Generals. Enemy morale has sharply decreased!

***

Dave raised a fist up "Nice!"

Samael entered the throne room and said, "Your majesty, there is movement in the forest!"

"Very well, bait the enemy to go deeper into the forest and pick them off with archers and foot soldiers, keep drawing them deeper act like we are unable to hold the forest side."

"As you command!" Samael rallied the command to a knight.

A boulder came crashing down inside the city bringing down one of the building's walls.

The Vinlandians started using their own trebuchets.

"Samael, they don't know the exact location of our trebuchets, use ours to take down theirs!" Dave gave a command.

Samael ordered another knight to send the order to the knights manning the trebuchets. Flaming boulders flew consecutively from inside the city in an arc, taking down three of the enemy trebuchets and killing many enemy foot soldiers. This made the enemy hesitate in using their trebuchets again.

"Is the wall still holding?" Dave asked.

"Yes my lord, Dementi is doing a great job in holding off the enemy forces from climbing, I don't think we will need to use the roped boulders yet."

"Good, keep me updated."

Dave kept watching the slaughter happening inside the city. The sound of battle and the smell of smoke gave him goosebumps. He needed to hold on for seven days so far, the first day had just begun and he was in an advantageous position.

Noticing movement in the distance, Dave frowned. The enemy is changing tactics. They are now advancing their siege towers.