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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 178 - Okazaki

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"Are you men ready for war, then?" He asked, from atop his white horse, as the sun rose at his back, and his army stood before him.

"That we are, Miurdono." A man close to the front responded, bending one knee to show his respect.

"Just you? I hope you have a lot of energy, then." Gengyo responded with a small smile. The men did not know him well enough yet, so their responses to his words were lacking slightly.

"Come on then, we will go and cause some chaos." He spoke casually, as though they were about to go for a picnic as he whirled his horse around, and began to walk slowly toward Okazaki.

All of worth moved with him. Their craftsmen, and their spies, and even their crew. Only a few men were left behind in order to ensure that they had some sort of presence in Toyokawa, but he did not spare many. His plan was to strike everywhere with his strongest force, and thus to inspire unity.

That was where their strength lay, anyway. Not in each of the places that they secured, but in the force that secured them. They simply did not have the manpower for any other strategy.

"She's big." He spoke, admiring the size of the fortress. It was a little larger than he recalled it be.

"She is indeed." Jikouji responded the affirmative.

From their vantage point, they could see soldiers standing guard at the only open gate, with a queue in front of them, as they paid their entry and were admitted into the settlement. There were no archers that lined the walls, but presumably they had the man power to do that if it was necessary.

Had this been a border fortress, then one would expect it to be permanently occupied with a decent troop. Yet this lay nearer the centre of Mikawa territory, and so whatever guardsmen remained behind were minimal, and were simply there to retain order over civilians.

"What plans can we expect from our general on this fine morning?" Jikouji asked, somewhat sarcastically.

"Oh, I don't know… Fetch me a gun?" He spoke somewhat jovially.

"…I'm turning into a b.l.o.o.d.y man servant." Jikouji complained as he wandered off to source him a gun.

In the meantime, Gengyo wandered along the ranks of soldiers, as they stood to attention, waiting to be given the opportunity to be of use to their master.

"You." He pointed to a man at the front. The man stood to attention, awaiting orders. "With me."

"You." He pointed to another man, further along the line, before he began walking along the second rank, and picking more soldiers.

When he was finished, he had ama.s.sed 20 of them. None of which were members of their previous band, and each other them were new soldiers.

"Stand there - yes, there. Good." He quietly arranged them, before turning to the rest of the troops. "Why have these few men been chosen instead of you? Well, I'm afraid to tell you, the rest of you simply did not make the mark." He paused for a second to taste their reaction. He could see those next to him puff their chests out a little more, having been chosen over their peers. Finally, they had been recognized.

"See, the reason these men were chosen, is they looked the most tired. Out of all our little army, these men seemed to be the most exhausted - the most likely to drift off to sleep." He smiled widely, enjoying his little joke. "And so, I've had to pick them, and it'll be my solemn duty for the rest of the day to make things more exciting for them, so that drifting off is impossible." 

There were a few seconds silence as they stared at him, wondering whether he was really serious, and then Morohira's loud laughter filled the plains.

"Ahahahahaha! Better to put them in a tent with a spoonful of pudding to keep them content!"

Finally, the rest seemed to get that Gengyo was joking, and he had used the need to select 20 men as a chance to define his own ridiculous requirements. A few half-hearted laughs rang out here and there, but the majority were still unsure. He shrugged, and did not push it, a.s.suming a more serious tone. In time, they would come to understand. Fear and danger were always present, and they should acknowledge it, but never dwell on it, for that only serves to make it worse. An army that could laugh in the face of danger was an army to be feared indeed.

"These men and I will enter Toyokawa alone, and clean the place up a little, then, the rest of you will move in, and we will occupy it."

"Eh? Just 20? Aren't you coming up a little short there, boss?" Rokkaku shouted.

"No, my friend. This place is dense with civilians. If we were to kill one or two, then our attempts at occupation would be significantly more difficult. There aren't enough guards to make this difficult. With twenty men, and the element of surprise, we'll be able to get done quickly."

"Here's your rifle… And I suppose you're going to tell me to get 20 more?" Jikouji walked back with a rifle in arms, and seeing the scene in front of him, his face visibly fell.

"Haha, thanks old man. You lot, go and get your rifles from Jikouji, and we'll get started."

"Do you not think they'll suspect something when 21 men approach armed with matchlocks and swords?" Togashi asked, not quite sold on the relatively simple plan.

"I imagine they will. But it won't be enough for them to raise the alarm immediately. It's a h.e.l.l of a lot less threatening then 500 anyway."

"I doubt they'll be willing to talk to you for long."

"I find a bullet rupturing a man's brains presents something of an obstacle when I'm looking for long conversation."

"Haha… It's hard to tell whether you're serious anymore, Miura." Togashi chuchkled.

"I'm always serious. I'll put on the show for you lot, and you can watch comfortably."

"All loaded and ready?" He asked, before they went out over the verge of the hill, and headed towards the open gate.

In response, he got a few tense and quiet nods. It seems they were not quite ready for this first mission.

"My lord… I have not fired one of these before…" One the men admitted, embarra.s.sed, his voice cracking as he spoke.

"Oh. That's quite alright. You see this here? Point it at someone, and pull the trigger to kill them. Get the others to show you how to load it properly, and make sure your matchcord is lit, otherwise you can't go wrong."

The man nodded, but still seemed unsure. Regardless, Gengyo paid no mind, and eagerly pushed on to clear up the last remaining things before they began their mission.

"As soon as you have fired your shot, do not bother with reloading. Cast your rifle aside, and use the sword. Do not kill civilians - that will make our job much harder. Really, just kill any armed man that attacks you, and you won't go wrong. Follow my lead."

He jumped out and began marching forward with confidence. The men shared a glance, before following after him, still rather unsure of themselves. 

Gengyo was still clad in his monk attire, and seemed quite content carrying off that look for a while. It did not bother him the strange glances he got, in fact, he thought there might be certain benefits in dressing this way, as people had unconscious preconceptions that they applied to him immediately upon seeing the way he was dressed.

The others were armoured in their own equipment that they had likely used for a number of years. Before being recruited by Gengyo, the majority professed them to be duellists, but there was the odd young samurai who they gathered along the way, whose armour was steal clean and fresh from the armourer.

He waltzed up, past the line of people, right to the front, despite their complaints. The guard stared at him with interest, as though wondering why a monk was holding a rifle. He spied the men marching behind him, and in the back of his mind, he wondered whether the monk was being chased.

"Back of the queue. Even you holy people need to observe the laws of the district."

"Brilliant. Holy people? I think you'll find yourself to be holier than I."

"Wait wh!"

BANG

Quickly, Gengyo drew his rifle, and shot the man through the head, barely changing his expression as he did so.

The other guard hastened to respond, quickly lowering his spear and attempting to stab towards him. With the end of matchlock, Gengyo redirected it off to the side, before jabbing the iron muzzle at his forehead with force, fracturing the skull, and puncturing the brain.

Those queued behind him turned from protests to outright fear, as they attempted to flee from the scene all together.

Gengyo looked back on his men. "Well, let's get started, shall we?" They started at him, and then each other, before vigorously nodding, and holding their weapons tightly. This man was not messing around, and if they did not keep up with him, he was liable to kill all the guards by himself.

The sound of gunfire was distinct, even amongst a noisy town. Within seconds of entering the city - and ascending the ramp - they heard the ringing of a bell, alerting the guards of an intruder. Even those that were asleep - after performing their duties the previous night - were awoken, and made to be armed.

Within minutes, the entirety of the guard force would be a.s.sembled, and they looked to their leader, wondering whether they should not try to hide, or at least take out some guardsmen before the rest gathered.

"Is this okay, my lord?"

One of the men asked, fear beginning to grip his heart. War was not completely familiar to him, and his last battle had been many years before. He was not quite ready to die.

"Of course. This is perfect. The guards will gather in one place, and the civilians will flee. It makes our job a good deal easier. Ah… but we likely should find some cover for arrows. They could pose quite the problem." Gengyo glanced round. There were numerous rafters and platforms in which the guardsmen could stand and rail arrow fire down upon them. It would be quite the unfortunate way to die.

"Mm, this will do." He stood behind the wall of a nearby blacksmith shop, resting his back against it. He took a glance at his men, seeing how serious they were looking. "Calm yourself lads. If you have in your mind that he will strike from one side, and he strikes from the other, you're screwed. Better to a.s.sume nothing, and be ready to respond to every strike equally, no matter where it is from."

It was a rather specific example, but he simply meant for them to not to think so heavily. One had to be relaxed, to an extent, when fighting.

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A Time Traveller's Guide To Feudal Japan Chapter 178 - Okazaki summary

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