Ch. 151 The Second Southern Conquest II
TL note: Changing “Cilicia/Cilician” to “Cretia/Cretian” from now on as that would be more accurate. Quoting the previous translator who translated it as such, it is “A play on Graecia and Crete; Author used Kirisha which is a play on Girisha (Greece)”.
A week had gone by since the second southern conquest had begun.
At present, we were in the midst of capturing the fourth city.
It seems there’s an abundance of Cretian spirits in this city as they just blew off our remonstrance to surrender.
Thanks to that, we had to stay here for three whole days.
That all ends today.
“Your Majesty, the tunnel is complete.”
“Alright, have all soldiers prepare for invasion. Destroy the castle walls on my signal.”
I had them dig a tunnel and reinforce it with lumber.
As soon as the tunnel reached under the castle walls, I had them scatter reed and oil throughout the tunnel and light it up once we withdrew back.
With that, the lumber supporting the tunnel collapsed at once.
And naturally, the walls on top of it would come crumbling down as well.
A very conventional strategy that has been used since long ago.
Additionally, I also had them use gunpowder on top of that just to make sure.
“Bring it down!!”
On my signal, a pipe resounded throughout the battlefield.
A scorched smell started drifting in the air and soon after, the castle walls collapsed.
An army of forty thousand flooded in at once through the broken walls.
And so, before long, the fourth city had fallen as well.
The city was dyed in red.
Engulfed in flames, houses everywhere could be seen burning down.
We had already finished looting the place so it did not really give rise to a feeling of waste.
“Your Majesty, you’ve gotten quite strict.”
“Well, I did have to face quite a hardship with the rebellion.”
I said with a bitter smile.
This was a message to the Cretian cities.
Informing them of what is to come if they did not comply and make peace quick.
Moreover, it also helped release the soldiers’ pent-up anger.
I had forbidden them from pillaging the cities that had surrendered.
However, they were reaching their limit.
It was just perfect to let off some steam.
I feel like I’ve been quite tainted with the Aldenia peninsula ethics as well.
That said, destroying a city with fire is quite the effective method.
Needless to say, it is visually effective and by pillaging beforehand, we can also secure war expenditures.
On top of that, burning the enemy’s base to the ground would drastically reduce the probability of a rebellion as well.
The Cretians’ national consciousness is strong.
If we can’t acknowledge their autonomy, there will be less casualties if we just burn the cities to the ground.
“Even still, a week has passed, huh? About time we should end this war.”
The crops need to be taken care of on a daily basis.
A week had already passed since the war started.
A large-scale deployment like this one affects the national power a lot as well.
“Even then, now is our chance. Let’s capture as much as we can. There won’t be a next time if we let this go.”
Looks like Bartolo is all about continuing the war.
And in reality, the enemy did in fact not complete their preparations for a counterattack.
Currently, we can capture several cities with little resistance.
A matter to ponder on, truly.
“I do plan on accepting a request for reconciliation from them if they send it. However, I have no intention of sending them one myself.”
We would be taken advantage of if we were to send a reconciliation request.
We must be the ones accepting their request.
“Now then, Bartolo. There are three cities in the surrounding area.”
“Yes, that is correct. This city is surrounded by three other cities. In other words, we could attack in three different directions and get attacked from three different directions.”
That is to say, it would be easy to attack and to be attacked.
A difficult battlefield to maintain.
Well, it doesn’t really matter much now since we burnt it to the ground.
“The surrounding three cities have 16 thousand, 24 thousand and 30 thousand population, respectively. If we were to bring these three cities down, this whole area would be ours.”
Even if there was an appeal for peace, I would like to chip away at their strength here.
“If we attack in one direction, we will be attacked from another. What is your plan?”
“I have a strategy in mind.”
Bartolo said with a grin.
Castle sieges take time.
Moreover, the damage done from it is large as well.
In our current state, we can maintain this army for about two weeks, at most.
If possible, I would like to end it in the following week.
However, it would be pushing it if we try to drop three cities in a matter of a week.
Even if we were to focus on one city, the others would send reinforcements.
It wouldn’t be wise to divide and conquer.
Then, what would be the best decision?
“Your Majesty, we have succeeded in building an alliance with the three country-states northeast.”
“I see. That makes it the 6th one.”
I put another mark on the map after listening to the diplomat’s report.
Many of these cities are aiming for independence.
However, getting that independence is extremely difficult.
This area is the point where the Aldenia and Cretian forces intersect.
Prominent Cretian city-states such as Lezad, Nemeth and Gehenna are trying to intervene in Aldenian kingdoms… Before it was Belvedere kingdom and now Rosyth’s kingdom.
There are two paths these small states in between big states can choose from.
The first is to form an alliance between the other small states.
However, doing this is no easy task.
It is impossible to unite dozens of states’ wills into one.
To begin with, there’s a dispute between city-states over land.
And so they’re left with a single path.
They have no other choice but to accept the large state’s patronage.
Until now, all the cities around here were under Belvedere kingdom’s patronage.
However, due to the retreat of Belvedere kingdom’s army from the previous war, most of these cities are being pressed with independence.
That said, it is impossible to just become independent all of a sudden.
As such, the cities formed an alliance with Lezad or Gehenna and somehow gained independence.
In other words, the cities in this area are in an alliance with Gehenna or Lezad.
Now then… did Lezad or Gehenna help their allied city-states before?
The answer is no, they did not even deploy reinforcements.
The reason behind this is because Lezad and Gehenna are officially taking a neutral stance in the rebellion.
However, in reality, they instigated these cities and made an armed intervention into our state.
But that ended up failing.
In regards to this, both states are making an excuse that they are unrelated to these events and that these actions are made by the cities’ arbitrary decisions.
For this reason, our country can’t actively protest against them forming an alliance.
And till just now, while Gehenna or Lezad did intervene with indirect protests or reconciliation intermediaries, they did not send reinforcements.
They probably do not want to take an aggressive stance against us.
Our military strength is not to be trifled with, from Gehenna or Lezad’s perspective.
Besides, their merchants have a lot to gain from trade with our country.
To them, a friendly relation with our country is much more important than the Cretian city-states.
It is unfortunate for these Cretian city-states.
Being told that they would be supported in times of need, instigated to wage war and deserted after failing to win.
At this point, the unity between the Cretian city-states is all but torn.
This creates an opportunity to take advantage of.
We send separate offers of peace to each city.
These cities, that can’t even be called city-states as they have a population of only about a few thousands, need to maintain their security guarantee in the form of receiving it from other large city-states.
Of course, this is in turn for paying a hefty amount of tax.
To them, it’s only a matter of changing what to protect.
As long as their autonomy is promised, all’s good.
And thus, we’re plotting to split the small cities but…
About how that relates to capturing three large cities…
“Seeing vassal states go under Rosyth’s kingdom one after another must be quite unpleasant.”
“Moreover, if the surrounding city-states become our autonomous cities, then… they would be isolated in the midst of the enemy.”
Bartolo and I surmised what the state of mind of the three cities’ leaders would be at the moment.
Just before, I explained how the small city-states were receiving protection from the large city-states.
These three surrounding cities are exactly the regional power holding cities here, who have the small city-states under their protection.
However, the three cities were closing themselves into their city and did not try to fight against the invasion (Rosyth’s kingdom).
Their unifying force declined very fast.
At this rate, all the small cities in this area will go under Rosyth’s kingdom without a fight.
If one takes control of the surrounding area, they can govern the trade and block off the source of the river.
The situation would just keep getting worse gradually.
To break out of this situation…
“They have no choice but to go all or nothing. The total population of the three cities is about 70 thousand. If they mobilize to the limit, they could possibly prepare an army of about 20 thousand. 40 versus 20, they surely can’t win.”
Bartolo said, shrugging his shoulders.
Having the elderly or women and children put up arms won’t do much good.
They would get scattered instantly.
In other words, it is impossible to break out of this situation by themselves.
You just simply can’t do something you can’t do.
They can’t even expect reinforcements either.
That is because the will of the other cities have yet to be unified.
At this point, they have three choices.
“First, surrender. Second, get desperate and engage in battle. Third, wait for the reinforcements that are not coming. One of these three, I’d say.”
Bartolo said with a grin.
In short, it is checkmate.
I would recommend surrendering the most but…
“Your Majesty, we have a report from the shaman who had been observing the three cities’ movements. They have increased their number of soldiers. The total amount would be about 10 thousand!”
10 thousand, eh?
As expected, they won’t go as far as to make the elders or women and children fight.
They don’t seem to be that stupid.
Either way, we don’t want to kill elderly or women and children too. That’s good, that’s good.
“Tell the small cities to closely shut their castle gates and not provide aid or attack.”
Even if these small cities were to attack, it won’t make much of a difference to an army of ten thousand.
That said, providing aid to us would be troublesome as well.
In this world’s battlefield, it is fundamental to commandeer food provisions on-site.
Although our country is refraining from pillaging, we are forcibly buying up food supply.
Not letting the enemy do that is a big blow in and on itself.
“Well, how shall we cook an army of ten thousand?”
Bartolo said with an evil grin.