“Now?” Xi Ning asked somewhat surprised.
“Yes, now. If we stall any longer then they might find out our presence and we won’t be able to surprise them anymore.” Zhang replied.
“I shall go ready the men my lord.” Xi Ning said as he jumped on to his horse and sped back into the fortress.
A short while later Xi Ning returned and behind him marched ten thousand fully armored soldiers. These man had all been bandits so they were somewhat proficient in combat. Xi Ning could not recruit from Red Mist city or the villages under its influence or else the city lord may catch on to what was happening.
The original five thousand men he had were not fully armed so the city lord did not care too much about them. Red Mist city had roughly one hundred thousand active soldiers so five thousand was not much.
Jin Sho had thought that Xi Ning’s village would eventually run out of funds and starve to death or he would use the excuse that they did not pay their taxes to wipe them out.
However, he would never have guessed that Zhang supplied the village with a vast amount of wealth. Using this amount of money Xi Ning was able to secretly buy weapons off the black market. Red Mist city had many back channels where if one had money they could buy pretty much anything. This was due to the city being too large and a key trading hub for the western edge of the warring states region.
Of course he was able to procure large quantities of rations from the back channels also. Although to keep everything under wraps Xi Ning had to pay lots of money to his suppliers.
Then came recruiting the bandits. This was a very easy task since most bandits only became bandits because they could not keep themselves fed. So the instant he told them about his employer and showed how much wealth he was given these bandits instantly jumped on board.
Xi Ning of course had to give them some wealth on top of that. But he was given a very substantial amount of money from Zhang.
Next came the hardest task that Zhang gave him. Zhang had ordered Xi Ning to construct a tunnel that would lead from the outskirts of Red Mist city to the inside of the city. This was a very daunting task.
To accomplish this Xi Ning had to send many of his men out pretending to be loggers. These man would go into the forests around Red Mist city to find suitable places to construct the tunnel. The tunnel could not be too far from the city nor could it be built in soil that is too soft.
After lots of searching Xi Ning decided to pick one location that was roughly three miles from the city. The soil here had many small rocks and lots of very large trees that prevented erosion. As an extra precaution he had the inside of the tunnel lined with stone and had support beams set up.
Thanks to the size of Red Mist city parts of it stretched into what used to be jungle instead of being entirely near the beach. Had it been smaller than the soil would make it unsuitable to construct a tunnel without it collapsing into itself.
Xi Ning had split his men into teams of one hundred and gave them all different tasks during the construction of the tunnel. Ten teams of men would work around the clock to dig the tunnel and lay the stonework inside of it. While the rest were given tasks regarding the construction of the fortress below the foot of the mountain leading up to the village.
Zhang did not order for this but Xi Ning always kept the safety of the villagers in mind. If their plan was discovered the fortress would allow for them to hold out for a while instead of being utterly obliterated.
Also as a precaution Xi Ning ordered some of his men to pretend to be farming or hunting in case someone working for the city lord came by. He made it so that the men in under his command was constantly on the more thus making the extra five thousand men nearly invisible.
Even if the lord of the city came and demanded to inspect the village there wouldn’t number over five thousand men.
Zhang led ten thousand cavalry soldiers to the outskirts of Red Mist city. Behind him were eight thousand infantry soldiers armed with swords and pikes. One could say that this many soldiers made up a sizable force however in the Wulin continent there were many billions of people.
When the Siwang empire had attacked the Heilong Kingdom it had mobilized one million soldiers from that alone one can tell how large certain armies can get. From what Xi Ning had told him Zhang found out that Red Mist one hundred thousand guard which meant that it outnumbered him five times.
And the first rule to sieging a city was to bring five times the number of defenders. So logically Zhang needed five hundred thousand soldiers. This was due to defenders being up on high walls while attackers had to somehow get up.
When attackers made it to the top of the wall they would be coming up one by one on siege ladders whereas defenders would stand in the thousands waiting for them on the top of the wall. To take over the walls one either had to send so many soldiers up that it exhausted the enemy forces. Or possess highly skilled soldiers who could vastly over power the enemy. Or lastly come with enough siege weapons to take out the wall.
Some may ask why not sneak into the city dressed as commoners and then attack from the inside. The answer would be those who sneaked in would not have weapons. When entering a city everyone was checked and if they had a weapon it would be recorded down. And of course if too many people appeared with weapons that would be suspicious.
Another option was to hide all of the weapons into an interspatial ring however that would not work also. Upon entering a city interspatial rings would be checked. The city guard required owners of interspatial rings allow them to check the contents of their rings. Also if one person had everyone else’s weapon and armor then they would have to be distributed to everyone somehow and that of course would gather unwanted attention.
So instead of sieging Red Mist city had sent Xi Ning and two thousand men to use the tunnel to infiltrate the city. Once inside Xi Ning would occupy one of the city gates, open them and signal Zhang to move in.
Xi Ning being a former general within the city knew the layout of the city perfectly he also knew where city guards would be posted and how many in number.
Beneath Zhang’s feet underground two thousand men were crammed into a small tunnel. The tunnel was large enough for two men to stand side by side when standing straight. Thus two lines of a thousand men each was formed.
Each man was dressed in standard armor and had a long sword at his side. In front of them leading the way was Xi Ning dressed in a general’s suit of armor and with a saber hanging from his waist.
“I never thought that day I come back to the city I would be using a tunnel such as this.” Xi Ning said with a chuckle. He had imagined the day he came back to Red Mist city was the day that the lord found some ridiculous reason to persecute him and hang him or somehow he was killed. Or the village was meeting its end and he came back to beg the lord to show mercy to the villagers.
But who would think that this time he was coming back and bringing two thousand fully armed soldiers with him. To top that off there were eighteen thousand soldiers waiting above ground for his signal to charge into the city.
Just thinking about how Jin Sho and his clan had exiled him out of the city after stripping him of his military authority Xi Ning could not help but smile at the thought of taking over the city. Once the city was their then the entire Jin clan would be at his mercy.
A while later Xi Ning had reached the end of the tunnel they were directly under a shack in the slums. Xi Ning had one of his men purchase the shack and stuck a long wooden pole that was painted blue down into the ground. This pole was used by the man digging to know where to stop. The tunnel was relatively straight so as long as they knew what direction to go in they would be fine but they needed to know where to stop.
Currently the army was only a few feet underground so pulling out his saber Xi Ning poked at the ceiling of the tunnel. Loose rocks and dirt fell down where he had pocked his saber into. The men quickly scooped up the debris and passed it down the long line behind them. Eventually the ceiling opened up into an empty room.
They had no made an exit hole because they were afraid that it would be discovered before the plan came into play.
Two small ladders were passed to the front of the line of from behind. With the ladders in place the lines of soldiers began ascending one by one. Once a couple soldiers were out of the hole Xi Ning told them to form a perimeter around the shack.
Anyone one who saw them would be either dispatched or knocked out and tied up. He did not want to drag innocent people into the battle if he could help it.
Once another twenty or so soldiers were out of the hole Xi Ning led them to a guard post set up in the slums. Throughout the city hundreds of guard posts were set up in order to maintain the peace. Each guard post was equipped with a bell attached to a magical voice amplifier. If something was amiss, then the guards would signal to the rest of the city using these bells.
There was only one post situated in the slums mainly because the city lord did not care about the poor. Xi Ning and his twenty soldiers silently moved through the night. They had wrapped their armored boots in cloth as to not make too much noise when walking.
Soon the guards post was in view. Inside were five guards sitting at a table and gambling.
“Ha I win again! Pay up!” One of the guards laughed as he yelled at the other four.
“Hmph you’ve been lucky these last couple games but not the next one! I refuse to believe that you’ll keep winning.” Another guard yelled.
“Really? A fortuneteller told me this morning that today a big change will happen in my life! And since then I’ve been so lucky. I even found a gold coin when walking on the street!” The guard said while laughing.
Suddenly the other four guards looked at the guard who had just won with distressed faces. One of the guards reached for his sword.
“Hey you son of a bitch, just because I won a few silvers from you doesn’t mean you pull a sword out on me!” The guard yelled angrily.
But before he can utter another word a sword plunged through his back and ran though his chest.
“KILL!!” A voice rang out behind him.
Xi Ning had killed the guard and yelled gaining full attention of the other four guards. That was when he men jumped in from the windows and dispatched of the guards.
“Destroy the amplifiers! We don’t want anyone using them tonight.” Xi Ning ordered.
“Yes Sir!!” A solider replied as he picked up his sword and hacked at the magical voice amplifier.
Xi Ning had ordered his men to break up into teams and move around separately as they headed for one of the gates. If they stayed in a large group and ran into enemy opposition, then all of them would be stalled. However, if they split up into many groups only a few of them would be stalled.
This would allow the others to go and open the gates to allow their allies inside.
Some soldiers were tasked with different missions then others. Some would roam through the city while pouring lamp oil onto certain places. While others would have dispatched of certain guard posts they may be alerted of the army’s movements. Everyone had a job to do.
As Xi Ning led his men toward the city wall he spotted someone approaching.
A man was walking down the street gripping onto and sipping from a wine bottle.
“Move through the alley and use a different route.” Xi Ning whispered to his men.
As he watched his men move and was about to move himself a voice range out.
“HEY! You got any booze on you?” The man who was walking down the street yelled.
“Fucker..” Xi Ning cursed in his mind.
“No I don’t.” He replied softly.
“Don’t fucken lie to me man I know you have some booze on you!” The drunk man yelled as he walked up and grabbed Xi Ning’s arm
“I do not now go away.” Xi Ning said while brushing the man away.
“Hey Do you know who I am? I’m the king of the world! Now give me some booze and I’ll let you marry a princess.” The man said drunkenly.
With a chop to the back of the neck Xi Ning sent the man into a deep slumber. Once the man was knocked out cold Xi Ning dragged him into the back ally and tied him up.
After tying the man up he made his way toward his troops and continued heading for the gate.
“Once we reach our destination wait for the other teams before engaging the enemy.” Xi Ning whispered. Instead of replying his men simply nodded.
They were the first squad to reach their destination and had to wait for the rest of the soldiers. Once a small force of roughly three hundred soldiers amassed Xi Ning led them to attack the guard’s barracks located by the city wall. This guard’s barracks was simply a rest station for the guards who guarded the walls so not a lot of soldiers stayed here.
He ordered the rest of his men to attack and take over the city gate. Once the gate was in their control his men were ordered to shoot a green flare into the sky.
A few hundred soldiers were positioned to guard the gates but after extended periods without any fighting these men had grown dull. Whereas the ex-bandits had lived by the sword to make a live thus making them as sharp as swords.
Xi Ning charged into the guard’s barracks along with his men and slaughtered every single guard that resisted them. They knocked out and tied up the rest.
This entire event happened over a few minutes and no one under Xi Ning’s command was even injured. While outside one thousand and five hundred soldiers who reached the rendezvous point. Once all of them assembled they began the attack on the wall.
Soon a green flare was shot up into the sky signaling for Zhang and the eighteen thousand soldiers outside to move in.
Once the flare was seen in the air the ten thousand cavalry soldiers began moving. The eight thousand infantry also moved but they would arrive much later then the cavalry soldiers would.
“CHARGE!!!” Zhang yelled.
Within the city when the green flare shot up the various soldiers who had been pouring out lamp oil everywhere began lighting flames. Soon fires sprang up everywhere within the city.
“Tonight Red Mist city might have some red mist floating around.” Zhang said