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Chapter 27 – Counter Attack
You didn’t need to tell me the importance of sleep. Some people work all day and night, and students study well into twilight and go to school just hours later. At some point, they suffer a decline in judgment.
On the other hand, very few people would say that sleep deprivation for soldiers during wartime isn’t so serious. In fiction, armies would be hit with dizzy spells just because they weren’t able to sleep.
But when one’s survival was at stake, sleep deprivation didn’t matter. A soldier forced to stay awake for ten days straight and could only lay down powerlessly would still pick up their weapon and fight the enemy. Soldiers, especially those who lived in lands with good governance, weren’t afraid of death.
I used the conscript to launch an attack in the early morning, and we took the lives of ten enemy soldiers. Based on the report, we suffered 13 casualties and 25 with major injuries. Wagner’s army was really getting stronger by the day. The other side barely slept and bore the brunt of our stone throwers’ attacks, but they still had their usual momentum.
…Among the 4,500 soldiers of Wagner’s army, about 500 were incapacitated from last night’s attack. At the moment, about 3,000 of his soldiers were laying siege on us, but they weren’t his elite, and our fortress was sturdy. My veterans fought at the forefront, showing why they were known as the immortal corps, so we held out.
I guess I made a mistake, thinking I’d demoralize the enemy if I denied them their sleep. But considering their movements, I’d bet Wagner didn’t sleep either. That was the important thing. The moment he would have heard of the night attack and had no choice but to handle it, he couldn’t have slept. It would be useful later, that is, if he actually didn’t sleep.
Wagner should have found out by now how I managed to set up the flamethrower near his base. If he had, he would have definitely noticed the existence of the underground passage and thought of a surprise attack with that passage instead of a frontal attack.
A panel linked to a pressure plate installed at the midpoint of the underground passage flashed with a noise. When activated, it indicated how many people were there. My army wasn’t using the underground passage, which naturally meant Wagner’s forces activated it.
It was only the second day, but there were already signs that this siege would be a prolonged one. I had stone throwers and cannons, so we had an advantage. The cannons could fire 12 rounds a day, after all. I was counting on the idea that Wagner’s army didn’t prepare many supplies because he thought it would be an easy battle. With this, he would inevitably try and finish the war before it stretched on longer than it should.
It wouldn’t be weird for him to think that way because sleep deprivation dulled his judgment. Of course, I fully intended to make use of the underground passages as well.
There were about 500 men in the underground passage. Likely, it was the 500 elites of the main forces. Like Wagner, their judgment should be dulled as they probed through. The second pressure plate was activated three minutes later. It seemed that they were moving quite carefully.
That, or it was because the passage was made so narrowly so that they had no choice but to crawl. The best thing they could do was to rush through as fast as possible, ignoring the casualties in the process. They really won’t know what hit them.
“Open water gates 4 and 6. If the water level is insufficient, have all the soldiers pee in it.”
“…Water actually goes through there?”
“It does, as long as the water gates are opened. Why do you think it wouldn’t?”
As I instructed slaves to open the water gate, Cornelia asked if water would enter the underground passage. When I replied, she embraced herself and began to tremble. She got scared easily. It seemed like she had been using the passage without her knowing about the water, and now she knew that it doubled as an instant death trap.
A large amount of water should have flowed into the underground passage by now, and if they were ordinary people, they would have drowned instantly… but they weren’t Wagner’s elite for nothing. Sounds of explosions and impact were transmitted back up to where we were. I had no idea whether they were buried alive or drowned, but the insurance was necessary.
“Get everyone capable of water magic and add water. Poison… I guess I shouldn’t use it this time.”
I thought of adding poison as well for further insurance, but I didn’t want to burn through my cards so fast. If the water attack was enough, it was best not to expose myself. The panels lit up again, one after the other. Based on the number of lights, more than half of them were drowned to death, I guess? The ground rumbled, so it was certain that something collapsed. Wagner’s elite army was buried alive for the second time in two consecutive years.1
I had no idea if it was enough to make Wagner retreat, but it was certainly a big loss for him. He would have wanted a quick battle because he thought that he’d be able to beat me easily. He had a great number of other, more powerful enemies, so he couldn’t just take his time with me.
The panel linked to the pressure plate flashed 21 times. It continued to stay lit, so the water probably hadn’t been drained yet. With that, only people on the further back had the chance to survive. If that were the case, very few would return to Wagner. I could easily imagine his frustration. Somehow, I managed to avoid losing.
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