Chapter 70:

Chapter LXVIII – The walls crumble down once more.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)

50th of Summer, 5859
City of Casamonu, Casamonu

Time: sometimes it passes, sometimes it doesn’t.

General relativity hadn’t been invented yet however, so the men besieging Casamonu couldn’t exactly explain why the temporal flow had been rushing so quickly. One day they had come to besiege the town, and it only felt like a moment that the walls were slowly crumbling down right in front of their eyes.

“Fire!” Two cannons roared once more, taking off what was left of the old walls of Casamonu. It didn’t have much protection due to being an inland town, nor was Casamonu built to last in the age of cannon in the first place. First the stone bricks fell down, then the earth packed inside the brick flowed down after being unshackled from its stony cage. Slowly, as the earthen core of the wall flowed free, so did the stone bricks from other sections free themselves as a chain reaction occurred to create a cascade of earth. It brought down a few poor souls down on the walls with it as well, making for quite the gruesome and chaotic mix by the end.

Sir Baha had been standing idly next to the cannons as he watched them break the walls. He intended to give orders when, in great jubilee and lack of patience, the other noblemen ordered their men to attack through the breech. Since they had already done what he’d planned to order them to do, Sir Baha sufficed by standing safely at the back and watching the battle unfold. His trusty servant Ted brought him his trusty binoculars, which gave him a clear view.

The first to enter the breech were the forlorn hope: convicted criminals seeking forgiveness or adventurers looking for extra cash. It was easy to conscript desperate enough men, whether looking for their freedom or just plain dosh, to brave the charge and put themselves vis-à-vis with certain death. They climbed up the rubble of the collapsed wall, meeting way more than twelve angry men behind the ruins of the wall.

Those who still stood atop the intact parts of the wall began throwing boulders and boiling water down to their besiegers as they tried to enter the breech. Even a simple boulder from such a height would cause a man’s skull to be cracked open like a quail’s egg meeting a road roller on a Sunday afternoon. Some heads were cracked open, some heads were boiled al dente, and a couple men managed to make it to the other side and escape being made into a gruesome meal for the earth below.

Forlorn hope was forlorn for a reason however, for their next appointment was with the polearms of the men standing on the ground. The broken part of the wall led into a narrow street, in which there were already a few sentries from the garrison of the city. These sentries set forth to delay the besiegers, while not forgetting to send some of their comrades as messengers to warn the other members of the garrison to make their way to defend the breech.

Now the backstreets of Casamonu, ever familiar with petty fights, had become a proper battleground. The forlorn hope, despite being somewhat outnumbered due to coming in as a trickle from the breech, went on the offense. Unlike the garrison men with their pikes and halberds suitable for a defense, the forlorn hope carried longswords and small round shields meant for a quick offense before the pikes could fall into formation. Even if they fell into formation, these men would just duck under the pikes and try their best to earn their pay by poking the legs of their enemies.

The garrison consisted of the men of the city, conscription during times of siege was the duty of every man living in an urban area in most of Gemeinplatz, who hadn’t gotten much chance to train in acting as a group during the brief siege. Still, they managed to instinctively band together quickly enough to erect a line of pikes wide enough to block the street. Their lack of experience was covered by the fact that their weapons made their formation into a huge porcupine that wasn’t too pleasant to try and break through.

Still, the forlorn hope had to earn their pay somehow with what few officers had managed to make it through with them watching them closely. The strategy to break these formations was simple: ram the long polearms with their shields to break the balance of its wielder, duck under the giant porcupine whose eyes were chiefly focused on other attackers, and pray that they’d manage to slip through and slice a couple people before they were skewered. Thankfully the members of the garrison were unskilled, so they had a hard time counter-skewering the men traversing below their pikes who became tangled together in a big mess as everyone tried to murder everyone else. Men screamed as their tendons were slashed, others couldn’t scream due to having their throats being blocked by foreign metal objects.

It was quite the bloody mess, a bloody mess which eventually resulted in the garrison tactically retreating when the walls around the city crumbled once more. The rest of Sir Baha’s allies began pouring into the backstreet, being met by the members of the garrison gathering reinforcements to block the street. Sir Baha himself rode in to the scene on his horse, commanding his own little retinue with a little surprise in store for the wall of men blocking them.

“Allies, stand back!” commanded Sir Baha, and the allies in question withdrew away from the wall of enemies ready to meet them.

“Men, fire!” Instead of arrows or lead balls shooting out as expected from the command, Baha’s men took out hand-sized bags which were full. The bags had very short matches attached to them, borrowed from the matchlock firearms of Sir Corvus’ men, and these bags were about to meet their intended recipients.

These bags, relatively light and easy to throw, flew towards the members of the garrison who had crowded around the street. It took a good few seconds for these bags to do their thing but, even if many men of the garrison realized their up and coming fate, nobody could escape back through the tight streets before the bags went off with a loud boom. As the experts know however, it’s not the explosion that kills you, it’s the shrapnel. These bags had also been packed with the little lead balls (a.k.a. ammunition for the firearms) also looted from Corvus’ men, and these lead balls now flew around with the fury of a thousand muskets firing in unison.

With a bang, the garrison blocking the road was no more, being replaced by a gruesome scene which needs no further description lest this novel be declared adults-only by the relevant authorities, neither would most readers be likely to enjoy the description of this scene if it was done properly. To spare you the need for eye bleach, the scene post-explosion could be explained thus: It was as if somebody had bought out the entire stock of cranberry in a supermarket and smashed it with a giant mallet, proceeding to spew the cranberry in a frantic fashion mixed in with entrails for some reason which is not clear to anyone but the hypothetical somebody. Mix that with a lot of Late Medieval armor and weaponry, and you may be able to imagine the scenery in a more advertiser-friendly manner.

With their enemies having been turned into cranberry paste, it was time to move on to the rest of Casamonu. The men exited the street, doing their best not to step on someone’s entrails.

Time: sometimes it passes, sometimes it doesn’t.

General relativity hadn’t been invented yet however, so the men besieged in Casamonu couldn’t exactly explain why the temporal flow had seemingly ground to a halt. Some blamed chronomancers, some blamed chronomancresses, but the truth was that siege warfare included lots of waiting. Waiting around to see if the walls would be breached today, waiting to see if the enemy would finally retreat, waiting to see if it was all finally over… The anxiety of it all had made time stop without any need for magic or sci-fi shenanigans.

Count Leon too had been feeling restless. A small pocket of black had appeared beneath his eyes. He would have lost his hair tearing it apart if not for the fact that he had no hair to lose. Baldness wasn’t his biggest problem however; he only had to shave what little hair he had once in a while to have a fully shiny head that looked attractive enough.

Unfortunately for Leon, fugitives and revolting lords outside his precious walls couldn’t be shaved away like his pesky hair. He really wished to forge himself a giant razor which could pluck out the rebellious blades of hair camping outside his walls. Perhaps the dwarves could forge something like that if they had not abandoned him. “Those pesky, hairy, no-good sons of cave shrooms…” The count would definitely stomp on the next dwarf that entered his sight. He’d like to stomp on all the dwarves if he could. He’d like to gather enough gunpowder to blow their mountain down to-

Knock, knock. “Sir, it’s me, Hilmi.” …knock knock! KNOCK-KNOCK!

Leon didn’t exactly want to have a talk with his servant, but there was no other choice if he was to get any updates. “You may come in.”

Hilmi bowed down to his lord… “Sir, I’ll keep it short. A small battalion of enemy pigmen slaughtered all your guards on the walls. The palace guard has surrendered.” …for one last time. “They wanted to have a servant come over to retrieve you.”

“…wait.” Leon was a bit too surprised to get angry right at that moment. “Wait, wait, wait a bloody minute, who did they surrender to?”

“The men of Sir Baha, sir.” Hilmi opened the curtain in Leon’s room, revealing a disorganized mob of men looting the grounds of the palace. “They entered so quickly that nobody here noticed them until they demanded that we open the gates of the castle.”

This was it. Leon would normally not be too worried about a civilized army comprised of fellow noblemen capturing him. It was tradition to ransom high members of society at worst if they were captured in honorable combat. Of course, his visitors were here because he had tried to capture a nobleman, which was considered a “dick move” by many.

The count’s chances were, “…not good.” as said out loud by Count Leon himself.