Chapter 335: The Fruits of Victory
Han Shuo was most concerned about the gates that Chester and Dick were responsible for. But when he reached the gates, he found the soldiers safe and sound. The vestiges of their battle didn’t seem too prominent. The two hundred bandit corpses indicated that the bandits’ losses hadn’t been too severe, either.
“Are you alright?” Han Shuo descended, an aura of victory swirling around him, and looked at the immeasurably self-satisfied Chester and the others, letting out a sigh of relief as he did so.
“We’re fine, my lord. Those cowardly bandits charged us only the once, and then just stayed in the distance and observed the gate. They suddenly retreated just now.” Chester gave a relaxed smile, pointing in the direction that Afie had run off in.
Looking into the distance, Han Shuo nodded, saying “That’s good. Leave three hundred to defend this gate; the rest of you, go help Dorcas.”
“Alright, we’ll depart immediately!” Dick and Chester responded in tandem, turning to give spirited orders to the idle troops, haranguing them to get various appendages in order and head out to aid the other two sides.
A deafening explosion sounded from the direction of the other two walls. Han Shuo flew directly over to Faulke’s defensive perimeter. Dorcas had already demonstrated his military genius during the merchant kidnapping incident, and was now once again doing so in exterminating the bandits. Han Shuo trusted that he was fine.
On the contrary, it was the high-born, stronger Faulke who needed help. Although it may have been because of his status as a knight, but he was bound by a code of conduct that limited his effectiveness. On the battlefield, his formations weren’t flexible enough, and Han Shuo was worried that he might fall into trouble.
When Han Shuo arrived at the city wall under Faulke’s command, he found bandit corpses lying everywhere. Looking at the walls, the bandits seemed to have exacted their revenge in kind, leaving countless soldier corpses riddled with arrows. Han Shuo immediately understood that the battle here must have been very intense.
The bandit group Faulke was fighting was the Battleaxe Mercenary Group. The towering leader of the Battleaxe Mercenary Group, Bynam, wasn’t good at commanding troops like Fass, nor was his head filled with crafty schemes like Alfie. This single minded simpleton had been blinded by the prospect of a million gold coins and had just committed all his troops in a frontal assault.
Defending the wall, Faulke fought against the assault as if his life depended on it. With the battle devolving into a war of attrition, the barbaric Bynam, who’d sustained severe casualties, did not appear to know the definition of “retreat”. He yelled madly at his soldiers to continue attacking the walls. Faulke’s side had lost a hundred men, with around four hundred more with various injuries. The remaining soldiers were all bone deep exhausted.
If it hadn’t been for the citizens of Brettel City joining the fray against the bandits at the tipping point then Faulke’s side would have been in severe danger. When Han Shuo arrived, the battle had once again reached a critical juncture. Tens of ferocious bandits had already stormed the city walls, entangling the soldiers in furious battle.
The exhausted soldiers used their last vestiges of energy to hack, slash, and cut their foes down. A few citizens, unafraid of death in the face of the bandit threat, had willingly joined the fray. Wielding spears and javelins, they furiously stabbed and thrust at the bandits climbing the city walls.
Like a bolt of lightning, Han Shuo slammed into the city wall like a tornado of death.
He whistled loudly and charged the bandits on the wall alone. Like an unstoppable boulder, he tore through bandits using his bare hands, leaving behind a trail of what could only be described as vivisection specimens.
As these bandits died at his hand, there was nothing to stop Han Shuo from starting his loud, long chant with his bone staff. A horrifying army of undead gradually gathered beneath the city walls.
With a single stroke from the evil knight’s killing aura infused bone spear, several bandits were mutilated and swept away. Flocks of gargoyles hurtled by like ravens, unhorsing and carrying off the bandits that had come galloping in on horses. The bandits that were carried off would be torn to pieces by the gargoyles’ claws long before they hit the ground.
This time, when acid marshes appeared amidst the bandits, the sounds of screaming never stopped. Under the corrosion of the acid marshes, scores of bandits became brand-new, snowy white skeletons.
Han Shuo’s actions had completely turned the situation around. Surging waves of magic rippled out whenever the demon-like Han Shuo waved his bone staff. Groups of undead soldiers would rise up, or mind-bogglingly destructive acid marshes would appear. From time to time, a few corpses would even explode. The Battleaxe Mercenary Group’s casualties soared exponentially with every passing second.
The battlefield was a complete rout by the time Han Shuo was done. The furious leader of the Battleaxe Mercenary Group, Bynam, was roaring nonstop. In his fury, he completely overestimated himself, jumping on a hose and boldly charged towards Han Shuo. However, a shake of the bone staff sent a blast of magic towards him. The blast turned into rows of bone lances that flew through the air, a dense rain that blotted out the sun.
There were no flukes. Every part of Bynam and his horse that weren’t covered by armor was pierced through by bone lances. Two bone lances found his eye sockets. Bynam died on the spot without even uttering a sound.
“Boss! The boss is dead!” Han Shuo’s arrival caused panic amongst the bandits. The shocked and fearful bandits began shrieking loudly upon discovering that their leader was dead.
The remaining Battleaxe bandits all bolted as if using this as an excuse, recklessly running from this area. An audacious yet careful bandit pretended to retrieve Bynam’s corpse, secretly taking off the latter’s space ring and pocketing it.
Han Shuo loved looting the dead and discovered the bandit’s actions with a glance. He laughed lightly, flying from the city walls like a specter, silently catching up to the ecstatic bandit who was hurriedly running away. He said, “Sometimes, the wealth of the dead will also cause you to lose your life!”
The bandit who had taken Bynam’s space ring thought that it was an avaricious compatriot who desired a share of the wealth upon hearing those words coming from behind him. He turned around and struck out with a battleaxe with an ominous glint in his eyes.
The battleaxe heading towards him flew away with a “Ding! ” upon meeting a flick of Han Shuo’s right forefinger. The reverb travelled down the bandit’s arm, sending him staggering backwards. . He turned around, finally seeing who the person behind him was.
Once he saw who was behind him, the bandit didn’t dare hold back. He threw himself into a roll and tried to crawl through the underbrush to escape. Unfortunately, in front of the airborne Han Shuo, the bandit’s actions were as transparent as a clear spring. Han Shuo easily impaled the bandit from behind, relieving him of Bynam’s space ring and laughing as he flew back to Faulke.
“Some more unexpected revenue!” Han Shuo laughingly said to the panting Faulke.
Faulke understood that the danger he was facing was gone with Han Shuo’s arrival. Faulke was also fully aware of the magnitude of Han Shuo’s astounding power, and that the battle would be over the instant Han Shuo appeared. The facts proved Faulke’s judgement correct.
The bandits did not dare to linger after Bynam’s death, especially in the face of the undead army’s terrifying combat ability. As such, they retreated from the city like a tide, leaving behind a thousand or so corpses.
The rumbling of the magic cannons from the other side of the city gradually subsided as well.
No longer hearing the sound of the cannons, Han Shuo understood that Dorcas’ battle must also be drawing to a close. This was the first trial that Brettel City had faced, and they’d managed to pull through with everyone’s cooperation.
Having witnessed Han Shuo’s frightening strength, all of the citizens who’d participated in the battle looked at Han Shuo with reverence. When the last bandit disappeared over the horizon, this reverence gradually grew into trust. Loud cheers suddenly broke out around the city walls.
“Today, all citizens who participated in the battle shall be rewarded five gold coins. Faulke, you’ll be responsible for the distribution of the rewards.” Han Shuo instructed, smiling slightly as he looked at the citizens who were revelling in the joy of their survival.
The cheering citizens let out even more excited cheers as soon as the words left Han Shuo’s mouth. The look in their eyes as they looked towards Han Shuo became even more ardent. How grandiose the city lord of Brettel City seemed!
“Rest assured, my lord. I won’t unfairly treat the civilians who have aided us.” Faulke bowed respectfully and looked at the bandit corpses outside the city. The armor and weapons left behind by the bandits will certainly be worth a pretty penny. Also, their money pouches will likely contain plenty of gold coins?
“Yeah, the bandits really have left. You clean up the battlefield, I’m going to go check on Dorcas!” Han Shuo gave instructions to Faulke and then streaked across the sky towards the section of the wall left to Dorcas.
The cannon fire gradually subsided, and Han Shuo looked through the distant, thick smoke from the magic cannons. In the distance, the bandits were beating a hasty retreat. The battlefield was littered with corpses, and the numerous pockmarks were a direct indicator of a battle just as fierce as the other two. Dorcas had not let Han Shuo down.
Arriving at the wall beside Dorcas, Han Shuo found him making a list of their casualties. Taking a glance, Han Shuo found the bodies of tens of soldiers neatly arranged towards the side. Dorcas and the rest of the soldiers were standing in front of the corpses, solemnly saluting the fallen after they had finished their count.
End of part 1 of the chapter.
Han Shuo walked up to Dorcas, not saying anything. The bodies of the young soldiers lying in front of them were all riddled with arrows. There were more who were killed by flying battleaxes, some even missing limbs. They must have suffered considerably prior to dying.
A grief-stricken aura emanated from the saluting Dorcas and soldiers. Han Shuo copied them, and saluted to pay his respects to the deceased. After a while, Dorcas opened his mouth and said, “There will certainly be casualties in war. Nobody has the power to change this. The only thing I can do is make sure that our casualties are as few as possible, and make sure the enemy suffers as many of these tragedies as possible.”
Nodding his head in agreement, Han Shuo said “That’s right. Sometimes, being cruel to your enemy is being benevolent to yourself. I think we need to upgrade our soldiers’ equipment, with sturdier armor and weapons. This will make it easier for our soldiers to survive.”
“My Lord, how are the conditions of the other three walls?” Dorcas took a deep breath, finally taking his eyes off the soldier’s corpses.
“Apart from Dick’s section, the others are more or less the same as yours; though we all held out.” Han Shuo gave a gratified smile as he answered Dorcas’s question.
Nodding his head, Dorcas heaved a sigh of relief and said “That’s good!”
Clop, clop, clop.
At this time, Dick, Chester, and the others had finally dashed all the way across the city. Upon discovering Han Shuo already standing there, they understood that the battle must have already ended.
It had turned to dusk at some point. The last ray of sunshine gave birth to a fiery sunset. Under the glow of the sunset, the drifting smoke painted the world in blood, adding a touch of desolate beauty to the battlefield that looked like hell on earth.
Flocks of crows cawed as they flew, swooping down on the corpses of the bandits. They gleefully tore at and swallowed that beautiful flesh, giving off cries that disgusted people. As the sun set, the dense mass of crows grew more numerous, their grim screeches a bitter end to the unbearable scene.
“It’s over. It’s finally over!” Han Shuo mumbled a few words to himself, returning to the governor’s manor.
Smoke continued to billow outside Brettel City for three consecutive days. The citizens who resided close to the city gates all smelt the strong, pungent odor of burnt flesh.
A total of fifteen thousand bandits had attacked the city. In the end, they’d left behind eight thousand corpses, four hundred thousand gold worth of armor and weapons, as well as roughly two hundred thousand gold as loot. In addition, the Battleaxe leader’s spatial ring also contained three hundred thousand gold.
The four large bandit groups had arrived greedy for gold. Unfortunately, not only did they not receive a single gold coin from Brettel City, but they gifted a large amount of gold instead. Just as Han Shuo had predicted.
In this battle, Brettel City’s city guard death toll was three hundred and twenty seven. The injured numbered seven hundred and sixty nine. Those who had survived had essentially all suffered some form of injury. Furthermore, the magic crystals for the six magic crystal cannons were all depleted.
The goblin explosives and the more than ten thousand crossbow bolts that the merchants had transported over had also been almost completely consumed. There was not a drop remaining in the dozens of fire oil barrels, while the giant rocks used by the catapults had run out.
The few bandits who’d managed to scale the city walls had managed to destroy two war chariots, four ballistae, and a cumbersome catapult. The bandits also knew the astronomical prices of the magic crystal cannons and the specially refined magic ores they were made from. However, the six magic crystal cannons had been left untouched.
Han Shou finally gained the respect of all of Brettel City’s residents after this battle, with army recruitment at an unprecedented high as enthusiastic young citizens flocked towards recruitment centers. Han Shuo’s god-like power and influence had spread through the entirety of Brettel City. In the span of just three days, these residents who were at first filled with doubt towards Han Shuo had deified him.
To the younger generation, Han Shuo had become an unreachable myth and legend. There were a few pretty girls and beautiful women, who in the last three days had lightly powdered and gorgeously dressed themselves, coming up with excuses to hover around the city lord manor’s main door. Each one of them looked flirtatiously in every direction, carrying who knows what thoughts in their heads.
The previously despised Brettel City city guard had also seemed to become hot commodities. Some residents excitedly introduced their beautiful daughters to the soldiers that were dressed in shiny armor. Brettel City had dramatically changed overnight.
Han Shuo, Jack, Chester and the rest were chatting with the merchants led by Fabian at the city gate leading to Seamist City. Of these merchants who had dared come to Brettel City, every one of them were true merchants, daring risk to obtain fortune. They had gained a new understanding of the city after experiencing the defensive battle of Brettel City.
The siege munitions escorted by the merchants this time had been utterly depleted. Yet, the larger threat of the seven duchies still existed. Therefore, when the corpses were cleared and the roads slightly repaired, Han Shuo immediately spent large amounts of gold to purchase even more munitions. Apart from unending war arsenal, he purchased even larger amounts of food and daily necessities.
Merchants would never rest as long as there was money. When the large deposit was handed over to them, the merchants were similarly anxious to leave the city to handle their affairs, emboldened by the trust that Brettel City and Han Shuo was placing in them. In addition, Fabian held a letter that Han Shuo had passed to him. Within the letter was a list of special ingredients that Han Shuo required, as well as a few warm and sweet words for Phoebe.
“Jack, have you truly decided to stay?” Fabian looked at his distant nephew, asking one more time.
Little Fatty Jack nodded his head, a surprisingly firm answer following, “Yes, I think this city needs me more. Furthermore, Bryan will be giving me the position of finance minister.”
“Don’t worry Old Fabian, I’ll take good care of Jack. Let him stay and try since this fellow is so persistent.” Han Shuo laughed as he spoke to Fabian.
When Han Shuo found Jack two days ago, the latter had been still hiding in his room vomiting nonstop. Having witnessed the defense of the city from beginning to end, Jack’s appetite for meat decreased drastically, continually vomiting as he revisited the experience over the past few days. At that time, Han Shuo thought that Jack would leave, shellshocked after experiencing this gruesome battle. Surprisingly, this fellow had an amazing perseverance, insisting on his continual presence in Brettel City.
Han Shuo had found out from Fabian that Jack was talented in resource management and finance. Under the guidance of a few Boozt experts experienced in trade, Jack displayed a level of financial management that moved even Phoebe. The reason why Phoebe gave such consideration for Jack, apart from the relationship between Jack and Han Shuo, was because of his performance in management.
Knowing this situation and seeing Jack insist on staying in Brettel City, Han Shuo did not continue persuading him and instead gave Jack the position of finance minister. He did so in front of Faulke, Dorcas and the rest. The gold that had previously been obtained from Redbeard Tuoba, the four hundred thousand from Helen Tina, and all the gold that was obtained from the battle were all handed over to Jack, placing him in charge of managing this large amount of wealth.
Han Shuo wouldn’t dare to hand such a large sum of gold to any other person. He trusted only Jack, someone who’d grown up with him at Babylon Academy.
Han Shuo was finally Brettel City’s true master. He could appoint any personnel for any areas without need for any other approval. Faulke, Dorcas and the rest had no authority to interfere or intervene.
Jack was silent for a long time as he struggled between excitement and panic at holding such a large sum of wealth. Only after Han Shuo’s continual reassurance did he slowly adapt to the role as finance minister.
Fabian’s words to Han Shuo were truly accurate. With such a large wealth in Jack’s possession, Jack systematically started to clearly allocate the usage and distribution of the gold once he’d gotten over his initial panic. Every amount was thoroughly recorded, causing Han Shuo to have a whole new level of respect for Jack.
Faulke and the rest initially doubted Jack, but were all shocked after receiving their stipend from Jack and hearing him clearly name the price of each armor and weapon. When Jack initiated contact with several merchants to help Faulke and Dorcas purchase some war equipment that were in high demand, both gradually relaxed when Jack bought the equipment at a price much lower than they’d imagined.
Busy Jack displayed the brains of a qualified finance minister in three short days. The young Jack was gradually accepted by Faulke and the rest. The few of them felt in their hearts that such a young finance minister was perhaps not a bad thing.
“Alright then, you all take care!” Fabian looked at the two youthful faces in front of him, as if seeing that Brettel City regain its vitality under their care, emerging brightly onto the chaotic stage that was the eastern region.
The merchants were escorted towards Seamist City by guards led by Chester amidst the farewells of Han Shuo and the others, gradually disappearing from Han Shuo’s line of sight.
Han Shuo knew that Brettel City would definitely be even more powerful and prosperous the next time they came.