Wizard! Chapter 536
Uzoma didn’t like the sight he saw when they got back to the port. It was missing something… something involving a lot of sails and smokestacks. That would be… ships of any kind. He felt like there should be ships.
He hadn’t really hoped that they would get the go-ahead to retreat right away, and get on the ships and sail home… but he had hoped there would still be ships when they got back to the port.
Their initial loss had been a miscalculation. If they’d done everything wrong, they could have taken over that castle. Really, if they hadn’t lost their cannon they could have gone back to make the attempt again. The loss of life of the soldiers wasn’t that high. The crazy tiger rider had only been able to kill so many at one time, after all. They’d managed to retreat before getting caught up in a big battle… and the enemy had let them. They hadn’t needed to pursue them and lose any of their own men because they had already defeated them… even without killing most of them.
Uzoma would have believed many things about the council of New Eclea. They would most certainly send an insufficient force into enemy territory to try to get some initial gains. They might prevent them from making good tactical decisions because they thought they knew better. But… calling back the ships and leaving them behind was something he hadn’t thought they would do.
Everyone was called to muster by the docks. Uzoma didn’t know what good that would do, but at least they would have an explanation of some sort. Maybe the ships were just away from the harbor, avoiding an enemy attack. Though in that case, Uzoma wondered why the port hadn’t been captured and secured.
Then he saw the water. It was too dark and murky to see much, but there were shadows just visible… and in the shallows he saw masts and other debris sticking out. Well, it turned out the ships hadn’t abandoned them after all. On the other hand, that didn’t mean they hadn’t been ordered to. Once he got that thought in his head, Uzoma couldn’t deny the possibility was very real.
There was some sort of attempt at a rousing speech, but none of the soldiers were really listening. Uzoma just kept staring into the water, and at the floating and sunken debris. He wasn’t sure how it could have even happened. At the very least, an enemy fleet should have been spotted at a distance, and the ships could have been mobilized. Here, the debris was far too… concentrated.
Uzoma made up his mind. He didn’t care what the generals and commanders and other stupid leaders said. The only thing they could do now was wait and starve to death. Sure, they could fish, and they still had some supplies… but they certainly couldn’t fish enough to feed everyone. Besides, they would just be waiting for an army to come kill them… if they even bothered.
Uzoma was going to talk to some people. It surely wouldn’t be hard to find like-minded individuals. At the very least, in his plan they weren’t going to starve to death or die in a corner. He wasn’t sure what the chance of living was, but it was something. Probably.
William looked over the report. The underwater defenses had certainly done their job. Even a large fleet couldn’t do much when they were unprepared. If the defenses had been activated during the initial attack, they would have taken out a dozen or two ships at most, an insignificant number. However, when the ships were unmanned and without their defensive formations activated, they were sitting ducks. William felt bad for the soldiers who had died defending the port. In some ways, their deaths were unnecessary. However, having the port undefended would have been too suspicious. Then people would have gone looking… and they might have found the hidden entrances that went under the ground, and beneath the harbor.
The soldiers defending the port hadn’t even known the plan. They had the option to retreat, but without full knowledge… they thought staying to defend their homeland was worth their lives if they could help at all. What could be done besides awarding them posthumous medals and providing stipends to their families? It wasn’t enough, and those who were brave enough to fight in the face of overwhelming odds were the worst sort to lose… but that was what had happened.
Overall, William was pleased with the relatively low death toll. There had been some civilians who refused to evacuate, and some soldiers… but overall it wasn’t more than two gross lives lost on Cruonia’s side. Some of that was thanks to Tiburcio.
Tiburcio worked well as an element of surprise… compounded by the fact that nobody had fought anyone at the level of power of a gevai lord in a long time. The League was the exception, but New Eclea hadn’t exactly been on speaking terms with them even with similar ideals. More importantly, everyone who had seen the battle with Tiburcio there was dead or part of Cruonia’s forces.
William was hesitant to deploy Tiburcio… but he couldn’t refuse him. Not with him being mostly recovered, anyway. He had figured that Tiburcio would probably have just snuck off to do something stupid even if he hadn’t been… so getting him healed and with proper orders had been the best possibility. Even with new medical advances, it had taken dozens of years of constant care for Tiburcio to mostly recover, and he would need perhaps a dozen more. Crippling injuries weren’t that easy to repair. It didn’t quite require cell-by-cell work, but it felt like it.
William remembered working on his own arm for quite some time, and it hadn’t been nearly so bad as any of Tiburcio’s issues. More importantly, that was working on himself, where his magic could freely function… but working on someone else and trying to control mana inside them was much harder. There weren’t very many people with the talent for that, because most people couldn’t afford dozens of years of treatment by a specialist, so nobody developed the skills. More importantly, most people didn’t need it. Either they didn’t get so badly injured, or had limbs amputated.
While the initial part of the war had gone swimmingly, they still had to worry about the army within their borders. They were being watched closely, and plans were being made for the future… because there was no way that New Eclea was just going to give up, no matter how much that would have pleased William.