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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 73 - A Different Approach

A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan - LightNovelsOnl.com

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Their short march toward Was.h.i.+zu began at dawn, and ended rather quickly. They marched behind ten white horses, each holding a mounted rider. Gengyo guessed that the middlemost man - who wore armour of a different colour to the rest - was Okabe Moton.o.bu. The men around him each wore green armour, whilst his was almost yellow.

In the armour department, his men's armour was not far below theirs. They marched proudly in their new garb, each of them armoured like a samurai might be - aside from their lack of a men-yoroi. Nakatane had watched them appear in the morning with great surprise. Such quality armour was expensive. Highly expensive. Yet the young lad - merely with the coin he was given - had managed to find enough to arm his entire unit.

The effect it had on their morale was tremendous. Each of them wore a full set of the blackest armour imaginable. For it to gain such a deep shade of black, it must have been left to soak in the dye for days.

It gave them an almost supernatural quality as they walked, for such a ma.s.s of black felt suspect to the eyes.

Their leader was dressed identically to they, not caring about standing out.

The peasants from other villages eyed them enviously, thinking that they were an entire unit composed of samurai. It was rare too - they thought - to see so many samurai who had dedicated themselves to the art of the bow.

For that was how they were kitted today - a bow in their hand and a sword at their waists. The yari had been left behind for it would be of no use in a siege battle.

As they drew closer, Was.h.i.+zu grew ever larger. It was not granted the t.i.tle of 'fortress' for nothing. Within its high walls was basically a small town, alongside towering structures, with wooden foundations and white-washed walls and fabulously curved tile rooves. The tallest building stood in the centre, and was at least six stories high - an immense architectural feat.

But what bothered them now was not the wonderful architecture of the innermost buildings, it was the almost unconquerably high walls before them.

They paused only just outside of arrow range. The three hundred defenders stood ready inside, each gripping a bow, and looking down on them angrily, daring them to come even a little bit closer.

There was only a single weak point within the castle's defences. The defences offered a wall for the archers to stand behind, with only a narrow slit present for their bows. This allowed them to win almost any ranged battle. And the high walls made it almost impossible for them to be scaled without the aid of a ladder, yet whilst climbing you were the most vulnerable person on the battlefield, and the chances of you making it to the top were very slim.

This single weak point was the castles gates. If they could be burned off, using arrows laden with oil sacks and then fire arrows after them, then it would be easy enough. They would be able to take advantage of their numbers, and destroy the forces inside.

But that was when their commander spoke for the first time.

"I have a single order: capture this fortress without burning the gates, or harming the structure in any way. We will have use of it later."

No one dared to talk back, but it was a rather shocking revelation. The only other paths open to them were routes that were outright suicide. A frontal a.s.sault, or exchanging fire with the archers who held such an absolute advantage that it might be impossible to hit any of them at all.

But the day was so pleasant. The light breeze tickled the gra.s.s beneath their feet, and gently swayed the foliage above their heads. So now, as they stood on the edge of the forest, it was impossible for Gengyo to feel angered.

Even if their commander did not give care for their lives, it did not mean that they had to walk a path straight into h.e.l.l.

"Each household will receive two ladders - put them to good use."

He said coldly, as his men pa.s.sed amongst their ranks delivering ladders. The young man looked upon the flimsy wooden object with disgust. Getting them in range of the walls would be a task in itself, yet actually daring to climb such a poorly made device was liable to get them killed not from an arrow, but by the harsh hands of gravity.

A certain samurai landowner, who had named himself Itou, glanced in their direction pompously, retrieving his ladder as though it was a gift from the Daimyo himself.

"…Don't get beaten by that."

Nakatane whispered, placing his hopes at securing victory in Gengyo.

"I won't."

Gengyo a.s.sured him. The likes of those who dared to raise their head in arrogance because of some imagined difference between them... Those kind of men would never have enough brain power to spare to make a significant contribution to anything.

This eager man gave an order to his men, intent on securing good favour by being the first to set foot on the field of battle.

"Forwards men! Bow as.h.i.+garu, bows at the ready!"

He had his men march swiftly forward firing as they went. A few arrows. .h.i.t them in return, and a couple of his men fell, but it was not enough to even make him flinch.

Feeling pressured by the man's eagerness, the other leader's urged their men forward, aiming to attack the same part of the wall as Itou. With their numbers, a concentrated attack was sure to lead to victory. There would be casualties - of course there would. But victory would be theirs in the end.

Okabe glanced at their battling lazily, shaking his head.

'This is why Imagawa refuses to take you small samurai landowners seriously.'

He thought to himself, as he glanced back to see if all the men had left.

"Oh."

He muttered under his breath, slightly surprised. He thought there was one more unit still left to leave, but he appeared to have imagined it, and with a shrug he turned back to watch the displays of battle

"Where are we heading to?"

Nakatane asked, a little breathlessly as they sprinted through the forest, intent on getting out of sight as quickly as possible.

As the rest of the men were focused on the battle to the front, Gengyo had ordered them to discretely enter the forest. The other samurai lords concentrating all their resources in one place was beneficial to them, as the defenders would respond by doing the same.

"We look for the right place to get inside."

The fortress was surrounded by a dense forest that was difficult to navigate because of its bracken, but it offered the perfect cover for their movements. The adrenaline was already pumping in the veins of those that followed behind, as they knew what they were doing to be against the protocol.

They had disposed of the ladders quickly. Such things were c.u.mbersome when running through the trees, and likely would be of little use when they actually attempted to scale the walls.

The Special Forces unit grinned fearlessly, such a run being easy on their systems which had been tempered to deal with far harsher demands. The main unit, on the other hand, were lagging, and as breathless as their leader. But it mattered not. They did not slow their pace to accommodate.

The towering cemented walls were surrounded by a few hundred metres of gra.s.sy plains where the trees had been cut back to prevent any attackers from using them to climb over the walls.

But the walls were not completely straight, they were slightly inclined, so that climbing them was still possible, but immensely difficult.

Gengyo led the way through the forest, using his sword to hack at any branches in their way, so that the path for those behind them might be a bit easier. Very few would approve of his misuse of the weapon, fearing that it would dull the blade. But it mattered not to him.

They splashed through streams, not caring as the water soaked the tabi.

Even as they ran, an eye was always kept on the structure beside them, searching for any weaknesses, and looking for the opportune place to attack.

By now, they were a good distance away from the rest of the army, and not a single man was looking their way. Not that they could see them even if they did.

The main unit was flagging ever more, completely breathless. Moments like those made Gengyo immensely grateful that he had given endurance the attention it deserved.

Eventually, they stopped, much to the relief of the main unit. Gengyo spied a position where the rear gate was located. The walls were high - a good 15 metres. But the holes where the cement had crumbled away meant there was enough s.p.a.ce for finger holds.

Nakatane came by his side, huffing and puffing. Jikouji was nearer to the rear, as a warning to any of those new recruits that had second thoughts and wished to try running.

"Is this it?"

He asked, a little unimpressed. If anything, the walls were higher than the point where the bulk of the army was attacking. He thought the lad was aiming for a point that was easier to scale.

"It is."

His mind was still awhirl with thoughts, so he did not elaborate further upon why he had chosen here, and instead he looked toward his men.

"Which of you has the best eyesight at a distance?"

He was looking more toward Kitajo, as something told him the boy was amongst some of the more eagle-eyed.

"I'm pretty confident about that."

A man stuck his hand in the air, a grin confident grin on his face. He was one of the newer recruits, and was around his mid twenties in age.

"Asano? Alright. Come and stand beside me, tell me how many men there are watching on that wall?"

Asano walked over confidently, squinting his eyes as he searched for any signs of life.

"Three, I'd reckon."

"Three?"

Gengyo repeated, impressed. He had not been able to see any.

"Aye. Three. They don't seem to be looking much over here though - they're more focused on the battle over there."

"Hoh…"

That was the clincher. It was good to know where the men were, and how many they were, but if they were unable to take them out, then that information was useless. They were a good 500 hundred metres away from the walls, and the forest would run out in another hundred metres, meaning they would have to cross through at least 300 metres of long gra.s.s without being seen before they even had a chance of making a killing shot.

It was a conundrum and one where each solution would still be them taking an immense risk.

There were very few men stationed on the walls. About 1 for every 2 hundred metres of wall or so - the rest had been posted to deal with the bulk of attack a few kilometres away. If they could take out the three men that had a view of their approach, then the rest of the plan would function smoothly.

"Gra.s.s…"

Gengyo muttered under his breath, staring a clump of the thick green leafy plant by his feet.

"What are you thinking lad?"

Nakatane asked, observing the expression he was wearing.

"This: we harvest some gra.s.s, and become one with the plains."

He said, a little unclearly, too caught up in his idea to explain it completely.

//Author's Note

Thanks for reading everyone! That's the last chapter for today, I hope you enjoyed the bulk release.

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