Book 10, Baruch - Chapter 40: Meat Grinder
The ten siege escalades were like ten giant steel behemoths, slowly advancing despite the withering rain of fire from the magicite cannons.
"Once the siege escalades reach the walls, then...a large number of enemy soldiers will be able to attack through the escalades to the walls." Barker's face was hazily illuminated by the light of the firing magicite cannons. Boone, Ankh, Hazer, and Gates all turned solemn as well.
Linley stood atop the walls, staring down at the locust-like horde of soldiers, and those ten massive siege escalades. Even he felt it was rather problematic.
"The next part of the battle will definitely be a ferocious one."
Even someone like Linley, who barely knew anything about military strategy, could predict how wild the battle was about to get.
"Charge!" The soldiers screamed furiously, their faces ferocious.
Tens of thousands of escalade ladders were placed against the city walls, and a large number of soldiers began to climb onto them, attempting to charge the enemy forces on the walls and engage them in close combat. However...escalade ladders could be knocked off, and could also be lit on fire by burning oil.
In addition, each escalade ladder could only fit two people at once. Faced with a large number of garrison troops who attacked them at once, they weren't able to do anything.
A soldier on top of an escalade ladder jumped off, wanting to charge into the garrison.
Multiple swords and sabers swung out, and that poor soldier in front was only able to make one strike before being chopped into a beehive of holes.
"Bang!" An escalade ladder was knocked off, and a large number of soldiers fell down. For a fall of twenty or thirty meters...it wasn't a big deal for the strong, but for the weak, they would die or be crippled from the fall. The worst part of it was...many of the weapons of the already-killed soldiers were lying on the ground.
And so when the new soldiers fell off, they fell onto the weapons.
"Snick!" Their bodies were pierced through by the weapons.
A large number of soldiers also wildly shot arrows at the garrison, the hail of arrows falling onto the walls and even into the city. Many city guards fell down, shot to death by the arrows.
Every moment, warriors were dying. Although many garrison troops were being killed, even more attackers were dying.
"Quick, quick!" From behind the troops, the Dark Cardinal, Weiss Porter, was shouting. "Quick, have the siege escalades pushed more quickly to the city walls!" Weiss Porter simply couldn't keep his calm any longer.
He hoped for a sudden change in fortunes.
The enormous siege escalades were exactly that; powerful tools which could change the fortunes of war.
They were terrifyingly large, and were made almost completely of steel and metal.
These siege escalades were just like giant mobile fortresses. The soldiers in the walls above, when dealing with the soldiers from the siege escalades, wouldn't be at any advantage. After all, the siege escalades would allow hundreds of attacking soldiers to attack at once as well.
"Concentrate your fire against those siege escalades!"
The commander of the south gate issued his order, and instantly, multiple magicite cannons attacked the siege escalades simultaneously. However, the steel canopies protecting the siege escalades were several meters thick. Even powerful magicite cannons weren't able to burn through such a thick layer of steel and break the siege escalades.
At most, the attacks caused the siege escalades to tremble, or perhaps kill a few of the soldiers atop the siege escalades.
But when the soldiers died, more soldiers replaced them from below. After all, one of the primary purposes of the siege escalade was to act as a delivery mechanism for soldiers.
"Come, have the first battalion assemble here and prepare to defend against the first siege escalade." A commanding officer shouted loudly. To defend against the siege escalades, they had to use their elite soldiers.
The prefectural city of Cod wanted to try their best to block the assault of these siege escalades.
However, these siege 'behemoths' were simply unstoppable...
With a sudden 'bam' sound, a siege escalade rammed into the city walls. And then multiple 'bang' 'bang' 'bang' sounds could be heard in succession, as one siege escalade after another collided with the city walls.
"Pull, pull, pull!"
Atop one of the siege escalades, a military officer was shouting in anger. Many soldiers around him instantly began to activate the hidden mechanisms of the siege escalade, and with clanking sounds, the thick steel canopy protecting the siege escalade swung down.
"Bang!" The hundred-meter wide steel canopy smashed hard against the city walls.
This immediately became the equivalent of a hundred-meter wide corridor from the siege escalade into the prefectural city of Cod. The siege escalade was taller than the city walls to begin with. With the canopy down, the soldiers of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows were able to charge down from the higher ground in a wild attack.
"Brothers, kill them!"
"Avenge the captain! Kill!!!"
Countless ferocious howls came from the soldiers, as they wildly charged down the corridors to the walls of the prefectural city of Cod. They had been beaten senseless, and while they were charging, many had been shot to death by arrows or blasted apart by magicite cannons. They hadn't even had the chance to fight a fair battle with their enemies.
This sort of frustration and resentment had been building in their hearts.
And now, they finally had the chance to explode.
The ten siege escalades represented ten corridors. Large numbers of soldiers swarmed towards the walls, attacking the defenders. The garrison troops of the prefectural city of Cod didn't budge either. They used boulders to attack, or burning oil...the hundred-meter wide corridors were utterly filled with people.
One soldier decapitated his opponent, but then someone else rammed a spear through his chest.
The battle at the walls and the siege escalades was a meat grinder!
The attackers and defenders fought in pitched, close-quarter battles!
Large numbers of corpses clotted the area, forming piles so high that they were even higher than the walls themselves as bodies fell downwards. Blood splashed everywhere, causing rivers of blood to form atop the walls and the corridors. Countless soldiers continued to raise their weapons, charging towards their foes.
For the sake of survival.
For the sake of avenging their comrades.
Everyone fought wildly, their eyes red with bloodlust.
"Bang!" "Bang!" ...
The magicite cannons were aiming their fire against the siege escalades now, because the people atop the siege escalades were very tightly clustered. The density was ten times greater than the ground below! Countless soldiers wanted to use the siege escalades to charge onto the enemy's walls.
Indeed, the soldiers moved quickly. Soon, they managed to charge from the siege escalades into the city walls. It was only a distance of a hundred meters from the siege escalade to the city walls! Given the power of these soldiers, it wouldn't even take them ten seconds to close that sort of distance. They all possessed the hope that during those ten seconds while they were exposed and in the open, the magicite cannons definitely wouldn't be able to strike them.
The magicite cannons continued to fire against the siege escalades, each blast claiming the lives of hundreds of soldiers. Unfortunately, the speed at which the magicite cannons killed people was far slower than the speed at which the soldiers of two sides killed each other in close quarters combat. The soldiers of the prefectural city of Cod began to die in large numbers as well now.
"In close combat, the death ratio is going to be close to one-to-one." Barker looked at Linley. "Lord Linley, if this continues, we won't be able to hold on."
Indeed. The enemy had a total of 1.6 million soldiers. Although they had lost some earlier, 1.6 million was an enormous figure, and those losses meant little. The prefectural city of Cod only had 500,000 soldiers. If they were to fight a war of attrition at a one-to-one rate...a loss of three or four hundred thousand to the enemy would result in them still having nearly a million soldiers, but to Cod, they would only have less than a hundred thousand remaining.
This couldn't be permitted to continue!
Of course, this was just the death ratio for the soldiers in close quarters combat. If they factored in the damage caused by the magicite cannons, as well as those who were being shot to death by arrows, the prefectural city of Cod still held a major advantage.
"Gates, go destroy that corridor for me." Linley pointed at the thick steel canopy-bridge of one of the siege escalades.
Once that hundred-meter wide, multiple-meter thick steel bridge was destroyed, then...there would be a distance of nearly ten meters from the siege escalades to the city walls. Only warriors of a certain rank would be able to leap that distance, and in addition, as they leapt, the city garrison would be able to use their spears to welcome them as they landed...
"Yes, Lord." Gates acknowledged in his loud voice.
Boone, Ankh, and Hazer didn't hesitate at all as they headed out as well. But Barker, since he was now a Saint, couldn't get involved.
Gates' body was blazing with battle-qi, and in his hands, he was wielding that 5300 pound greataxe. With a mighty leap, he flew directly onto the corridor where the fighting was going on. The bridge was filled with people, as many soldiers wanted to charge onto the enemy walls.
"Bang!" A terrifying axe-shaped blast of battle-qi energy chopped out, splitting several dozen warriors apart at the waist instantly. Body parts flew everywhere, spraying the surrounding area with blood. Instantly, a large gap appeared on the corridor-bridge.
Like a demonic god, Gates wielded his terrifying 5300 pound greataxe as he landed in that empty area. Almost instantly, a large number of enemy soldiers immediately filled up that gap, all of them attacking Gates wildly.
"Hrmph!" Greataxe in hand, Gates delivered a mighty blow to the bridge beneath him.
The greataxe fell down, as gently as a falling leaf, striking against the steel bridge. Only a gentle clink was heard, but then...a massive hole appeared in the steel bridge, and a huge amount of steel dust was suddenly picked up and carried away by the wind.
Wielding something heavy as though it were light!
"Bang!" Gates' battle-qi blasted out in all directions like countless arrows, killing all of the surrounding and attacking soldiers.
"It really is thick." Gates murmured confidently. This sturdy steel bridge was something which even a peak-stage Undying Warrior of the ninth rank was unable to chop through at a blow. However, the blow from Gates' greataxe had chopped halfway through it, with only a meter of thickness remaining.
"No!" Many people from the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows, upon seeing this, stared with wide eyes.
"Break apart!" Gates brought his greataxe gently down a second time.
"Bang!" That thick steel bridge split into two parts, and the part that was lying against the wall fell down. A large number of soldiers fell down as well. The effectiveness of the siege escalade had instantly been halved.
If they wanted to cross to the walls, the only choice was to jump over.
But the enemy guards had their weapons pointed towards them, with spear tips and sword tips all aimed in their direction. You want to jump? Then jump! You'll know what happens if you do...
"Bang!" "Bang!" One steel bridge after another was broken through as Gates, Boone, Ankh, and Hazer, these four terrifying Undying Warriors of the peak of the ninth rank, moved through all ten of the siege escalades.
The forces of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows, who had seen victory within reach, all began to feel bitterness and despair.
"We almost succeeded. Bastards." Weiss Porter let out an angry growl.
If the earlier situation had persisted, even though the enemy continued to attack with magicite cannons and arrows, Weiss Porter was confident...that after sustaining casualties of approximately seven to eight hundred thousand, they would have destroyed the enemies.
"Weiss Porter, now what?" Guillermo looked at him.
Weiss Porter looked at him as well. "It's still early. Wait for five in the morning." Guillermo and Weiss Porter both tacitly understood.
"Although the steel bridges were destroyed, the siege escalades still have some effect." Weiss Porter stared from afar...indeed, many soldiers continued to charge onto the siege escalades, and then, relying on being on the higher ground, shot arrows or slung rocks at the enemies on the walls.
A large number of soldiers even jumped down onto the city walls.
Perhaps the initial casualty rate would be horrendous, but once a small safe area was established, they were still able to fight on fairly even footing.
"They've gone mad." Gates had experienced countless battles, but even he felt a sense of pressure.
Simply too many had died.
Time passed, one minute and one second at a time.
Three in the morning...
Four in the morning...
As time dragged on, the casualties for the defenders reached nearly two hundred thousand as well. For their casualties to be at such a terrifyingly high number, one could totally imagine how many had died on the side of the Radiant Church and the Cult of Shadows.
When five in the morning came, Guillermo and Weiss Porter looked at each other.
"Weiss Porter, as you said. It is time to use our trump card." Guillermo spoke.
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