Part 16: The Japanese Requiem

South of Mino, Fall 1545

James could hear the hooves’ beat of the incoming Saito cavalry from afar amongst the shouting of the skirmish in the middle of his camp. The sun had risen a bit above the horizon, shed light on the bloodied land with body parts scattering all over the place. The fight was still happening, with yaris clashed against yaris, and arrows pierced through human flesh. It was a horrifying scene for the faint of heart, yet for James, somehow he didn’t feel anything.

“Incoming!” He heard one of his captains’ shout out as the cavalry approached. “Braced yourself men. Yaris forward!”

“Kyah!” He heard the men roared as the horses crashed against their yaris. James could feel a heavy thump as the carcasses fell on the ground with the riders on it. They were soon finished off with a thrust in the throat by his men’s yaris. It was idiotic for them to use cavalry against his battle formation. It took James a while to come up with this and trained his men, yet it proved useful, as it had no flanks for the enemy to strike. Still, there was one deadly drawback. It was a fight to death formation. There was no escape, for anyone. If the yaris walls fell, everything it tried to protect would die too.

Noon soon slowly scorched the battlefield with its golden sunlight and heat. James carried on the fighting with a fleeting wish for a glorious death under the shadow of a rain of arrows like Leonidas had in Thermopylae. He could feel the heat early effect on him and his army as it burned out their physical strength. He heard the hard breathing of his soldiers, and saw their oily sweat vaporizing in the air, making the atmosphere moist and rigid. Still, lucky for him, his soldiers held the line without a moment of wavering. This fighting formation, created from his favorite composition with majority of heavy infantry, was excel at defense and that was the main reason they could keep on fighting this long in hope for General Takayama’s cavalry.

Followed the waves of cavalry were waves of yaris walls trying to break the Oda’s defense line. Amongst the sounds of swords and spears clashing, sometimes he could hear the sound of his soldiers fallen, one by one, in order to protect him. He didn’t know how many men they had lost. He just knew the defense line was getting thinner and thinner. At this rate, it wouldn’t be long until his lines break.

Not long after the sun left its zenith, they heard the war-horn sounding from the southern side of the battlefield. It didn’t take him long to recognize General Takayama’s legion just by that sound. In Oda’s army, each legion was assigned a unique coding war-horn sound, so that they could recognize each other on the battlefield. James just brought this regulation into practice a few months ago, as he intended for the Oda’s army to practice battle formations.

“M’lord! Are you hurt? I am sorry for being late,” general Takayama unmounted and bowed at James’ feet after his cavalry entered the battle and routed Akechi remnants and their Saito supporters back to the nearby forest.

“I am fine general. You came on time.” James helped general Takayama on his feet. “Walk with me.”

James assigned his captains to reorganize the men, both his vanguard and the reinforcement, and let them rest for a night. They had fought for almost a day and should not resume battle until fully rested. He needed time to reassess and formulate a battle plan too. This assault from the Saito made him change his initial plan, as the vanguard had lost its momentum when it first arrived at Mino Province. Also, he dispatched a cavalry battalion to chase the routing army, and another patrol squad leading by Kankata to scout a head. They had won a battle, but the war was still there for him to deal with.

“So, what took you so long general?” James asked general Takayama as they were far enough from the main army. His bodyguards stood in a large square to protect their perimeter from enemy spies or agents.

“There were mutinies back in the camps, m’lord. Both Lord Maeda and mine legions. It seemed the Akechi manipulated some minor clans to fight against us. They assaulted my tent as soon as your messengers arrived with a few yari ashigaru battalions. We outnumbered them, but they created enough chaos to prevent us to move out in time to aid you. As soon as we had captured or slain all those traitors, I lead my cavalry battalions straight to your camp. Lord Maeda’s messenger informed me that he faced the same dilemma but were heading towards his assigned position at the time I rushed for your aid. Your plan should still at work, just a little bit later than it supposed to be.”

“The mutinies are indeed worrisome. I hope we have arrested all of them. You did a fine job, General.” James looked at his general and could see pride showing on his face. He did save James’ life this time. “You can take your rest now. I will call for you later this evening once I heard from the scouts.”

“Thank you, my daimyo. I await for your command.” He bowed and left, leaving James alone with his bodyguards.

“Matsui,” he called one of his bodyguard once general Takayama was out of hearing range. “Take three horses and deliver this letter to Lady Tsuchida in Nagoya castle for me. They should be back by now. Remember, deliver it directly to Lady Tsuchida’s hand. However, nobody can know you were there but Lady Tsuchida and Kagesettsu.”

“Yes, m’lord.” Matsui received the letter and quickly vanished into the tree ranges. He was one of the best stealth agents James had at hand.

“Did we receive any report about a signal fire coming from the east Ishimaru?”

“Negative, m’lord.”

“So they must be very confident about their plans. I see. If there’s no follow up army by now, the ones we encountered should be all their vanguard. If so, there should be another army a-day-march away from us, and another half-a-day away from that main army. If we’re fast, we can lay an ambush before they arrive. No, that will be too risky. There’s no way we can tell the exact path they will take to fight me. If we miss an ambush chance and they arrive at the battlefield with full force, we will take heavy casualty. Now that we already lost many divisions coming from Akechi clan. A pyrrhic victory is unaffordable here. So another option is to wait for them to come. Then, I need a battle plan.” He talked aloud to himself. This was not the first time his bodyguards saw their daimyo talking to himself like that. It became his habit to talk while brainstorming strategies somehow.

“Haruki, walk with me. The others take some rest. I will walk around here. If Kankata is back, tell him come straight here. Also, if there’s nothing important, I wish not to be disturbed. Before you leave, thank you for fighting alongside me. It is my honor to fight and die by your side.” He watched a red maple leave fall off a tree as his bodyguards bowed and left, leaving him and Midori alone.

“Did you get hurt during the fight Midori?”

“I am great, m’lord. Your formation proved its ability. Without it we wouldn’t be able to hold out that long.”

“I’m glad that you’re fine. But still, do you recognize the critical drawback of this strategy?”

“Besides the vulnerability for ranged units, there was no escape for us that fight. We would die should the yari walls collapse.”

“Tell me the truth Midori. Were you ready to die then? You’re too young. There are still many things for you to accomplish” He looked at the girl next to him in the eyes for a moment. There was such a strange attractiveness coming out from her. Strong, but still innocent to the world around.

“Fighting and dying to protect you is my honor and duty, m’lord.” She smiled an answered it in the most obvious way possible. He should have thought about that first. She was his bodyguard eventually. “But even without my duty as a bodyguard, I would still do the same, m’lord. There are only two things I want to do in this life, fighting by your side, and dying for you.”

“I am fortunate to have you by my side, Midori.” He said to her, and for a moment, he forgot that this was just a game. It was so real that sometimes he forgot his own reality.

“M’lord!” he heard Kankata’s voice from afar. He was spurring his horse towards James from the camp.

“Now there goes the man I’ve been waiting for,” James murmured. “The scouting squads have news?”

“Yes, m’lord.” He unmounted and rushed towards his daimyo side. “We have spotted enemy’s location.”

Kankata opened Mino local map on the ground and marked the position of the enemy’s army. “We spotted the enemy’s army one day march to the east of us, m’lord. I estimated there is five thousand men in this legion, which is all of their army. Saito Dosan may lead this army, if you ask me.”

“Have you scouted the surrounding area for supporting army?”

“We have searched the perimeter for supporting army but we detected none. Half of the scouting squads are still searching for them as we speak, but I rushed back to report about this news. I was afraid something would happen if we delayed and you might not get the information in time.”

“Good call, Kankata. Now take some rest while waiting for the others’ report. I will summon you and the generals soon. I need some time to think first.”

“Yes, m’lord.” The man bowed and rode back to the camp. The patrols had started lighting up campfires as the day grew darker and the wind grew colder.

“Are we going back too, m’lord?”

“Not right now. Can you come back to the camp and fetch my dinner? I want to stay here for a while.”

“At once m’lord. Do you want me to call for another bodyguard to accompany you?”

“No you don’t have to. Just leave me here by myself. Remember to get me some umeshu too. I want to drink a bit.”

Midori quietly bowed and quickly walked back to the camp. As soon as the girl was gone, James laid his back on the grass, staring at the sky burning with the last lights of day. He closed his eyes and let the cold seep through his armor. He didn’t actually feel cold, since it was just autumn, and there was no chance it could get as cold as Minnesota, the place he attended college. Thinking about the place, he realized how long it had been since he last thought of it, and felt surprise that he didn’t miss his reality at all. He wondered how long it had been in the real world since he and Rene left for the game.

I wish I can stay here forever. Somehow I felt like I am living at the right period of time. Maybe I was born for this kind of this period, not the modern one, he thought. He looked at the sky, and suddenly remembered a melody he heard a while ago.

“I wonder what you’ll go on from here, and what I’ll see right here.

I’ll try to entrust my tears, to this city where the setting sun stains everything in orange…

Like the sky after the rain lets up… like clearing up one’s heart…

I remember your smile; it floats up in my mind and I can’t help but smile.

This single love was born among a million rays of light…

We run through the passing seasons, seeing each of our many tomorrows, choosing from each of our many dreams…”

He tried to remember the lyrics as he was humming the melody. He could still remember the melody very clear then, since there was a time he used to play the violin to this song. And with the humming melody, he dozed off to sleep, in the middle of a sunset, on a wet and soft field of grasses.

The next time he woke up, he could feel the softness of a fur blanket on top of him and the warm heat of a burning fireplace nearby. Someone must have brought these for him and lit up a fire.

“M’lord,” he heard Midori startled as he stirred inside the blanket. It seemed he had wakened her up from her sleep. “You’re awake?”

“Aren’t you just awake too, Midori?” still tugging under his blanket, he laughed at his bodyguard, who was blushing at his comment. “Anyway, how long did you wait?”

“Quite a while, m’lord. I think it’s close to midnight right now.”

“What?! Are you serious?” he didn’t believe he had slept that long. It felt just like a quick nap he sometimes took at college.

“I’m sorry for not waking you earlier. You looked so peaceful that I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Oh no, you’re totally fine. You don’t have to. I need some rest anyway. Thank you for the blanket and the fire.” He gathered himself up and smiled at her. Then, he realized that she had changed her armor with a light robe. He couldn’t see the color clearly, but somehow he reminisced about the first time she brought him food at the camp in Owari several months ago.

“Do you want me to warm your food up, m’lord? I can bring it back and return quickly in a moment.”

“You don’t have to. I’ll take what we have here. I’m too hungry to wait now,” he laughed and took the food out. He noticed the umeshu bottles sitting nearby. “Drink with me Midori.”

She did as he bid and drank the bottle slowly while James was eating his dinner. Both the food and drink was cold, yet he didn’t mind it at all. It was enjoyable for him not to have to think about the war and his battle plans for a while. But now as he thought of it, he needed to come up with something. They would have to march or do something at dawn, since the enemy is very close to here. He was not sure about how many men he had left since the Akechi’s betrayal, but he could estimate around seven thousands. Still enough for an all in fight, yet he didn’t want that, didn’t he? The sooner this battle was over the better for him. He needed to stabilize Mino Province and get back to Owari before winter. It was only less than two months away now.

He opened Mino map on the ground, and labeled where his armies were. He could still see Kankata’s mark of the Saito position. There were many ways they could approach his camp from, so laying an ambush preemptively was too risky. If they missed that ambush and went straight for the main camp, that would be detrimental. His army might not be able to hold the line until the reinforcement come. Also, there was a potential problem if the fight dragged on. They only brought the provision for two weeks fight, and even though there was a reduced in the number, their provision would run out soon. He needed a solution for that too. Raiding would not be an option, since it would make the province harder to stabilize. The most feasible right now was to capture Inabayama castle immediately. Yet since it was still a castle, it was impossible for them to take it in a day, and if they could not do it, they would risk to be flanked by Saito main army.

“Let’s head back Midori. I have a plan for us. It’s late but we will need to summon general Takayama and my son Nobunaga. We need to make a move as soon as possible.”

“Yes, m’lord.” James helped her gathered everything and walked back to the camp. She was startled as James put his blanket on her shoulder.

“It’s cold. You need to take care of yourself too.” He smiled as he could see the girl blushing under the dim moonlight. “Can you sing me a song?”

“There was a cherry blossom tree north of the town a long time ago.

I was drunk with moonlight under the tree, asking where you were.

Emotions filled up like wine in a chalice, trickling down the side like tears on my cheek.

What is love, something so far away that was forgotten?

Want to forget all those love haiku, love was a pain shouldn’t be mentioned.

Hold it all inside, for fearing they’d laugh, or fearing you’d see?

Spring come again. The trees blossom again. And I am still here looking at the flowers alone.

With the wind, with the tears, with the moonlight, it’s all gone, like fireplace smoke into the night…”

The solemn melody seemed to cast an eerie veil on the night, dampened the mood, yet somehow enlightened James as he savored the last moment alone with Midori before rejoining the wargame. He looked into her eyes, as she gently touched his arm. Neither of them spoke, but somehow James could feel the presence of a long lost memory in her eyes. And somehow, she felt it too.

His bodyguards were waiting for the two outside his tent at the center of the camp. Everyone, including general Takayama and Nobunaga, was summoned soon after. They gathered inside and waited for James to speak, not seem to be surprised by the late hour. Probably they all knew the situation they were in and expected to have this meeting.

“General Takayama, how many men do we have left after the fight with Akechi?”

“We have five thousand strong that is capable of fighting and a few hundreds injured. Before I come to your aid today, lord Maeda sent me an estimation of two thousand five hundred men strong positioning ten miles east of us as your previous order.”

“Good. That’s what I thought. It was wise for lord Maeda to send you the report, not me at that time. What did you do with the dead and their properties in the last battle?”

“We piled them all up outside the camp, m’lord. We didn’t do anything further without your direct order.”

“You are wise to do so. Here is our current situation,” James talked and pointed out their position in the map. “ We have Inabayama castle three days march to the West of us, Saito main army half a day march north east of us, and lord Maeda’s legion ten miles east of us. Our provision is running short, with half of it in lord Maeda’s hand.”

“M’lord, we just received some provision cargoes from lord Maeda earlier this evening. His messenger said that he thought we may need extra provisions since the vanguard and the main army had merged together.”

“So how many days can we sustain here?”

“A week top m’lord, even with the supply from lord Maeda. We only brought provisions for two weeks at the beginning.”

“How did we deal with the remnants of the previous fight? Did our cavalry battalion report back?”

“They have returned to the camp, m’lord. Most of the Saito’s reinforcement and Akechi’s remnants were killed during pursuit. We captured around four hundred men. We have captured all lord Akechi’s sons, and some samurai from Saito clan too. However, most of the captives are previously farmers back from Owari.”

“Were they Akechi’s loyalists?”

“No, m’lord. They just followed their captains’ order. Their farms were on the Akechi’s estate, so they got enlisted into their regiments.”

“I see. For those ashigarus, remind them who their real lord is, and ask them to redeem their betrayal by rejoining our army. As for the Saito samurai, they fought hard, but they lost. If anyone wants to serve the Oda clan, let him and put him at the front line when we fight against the Saito’s main army. He will have the chance to prove his worth then. If he doesn’t, let him commit seppuku and bury him accordingly to a samurai’s tradition. May he retain their honor by death. And as for the Akechi’s sons, have them executed in front of the camp at first light tomorrow. Traitors didn’t deserve an honorable death. Cut off their heads and leave them on the field for the crows.” James mused with his idea of impaling both the heads and bodies after public execution like Vlad the Impaler, but he let it slide since it might be too radical for Japanese culture.

“It will be done, m’lord. You’re wise to do so.”

“Now for the battle plan. To deal with both our provision issue and the Saito’s main army, we will split our current army. General Takayama, you take the ashigaru captives, our injured men, and five hundred strong men disguise as remnants of Akechi – Saito alliance and run back to Inabayama castle. Tell the guards that you lost the battle. Once they let you in, wait till night fall and take the castle. Kill the castle guards and retainers if they fight against you, take control of the walls, gatehouses, and all defensive positions. Capture the Saito family, but treat them well. We will need them later on. Oda Nobunaga, you will act as commander of our main army, with advising from lord Aizu, Kizuki, and Tomishide. You will keep all my commanding flags, legion banners, and bodyguards, except for Haruki and Hatake. You will not go into battle but stay on top of that hill and only use signal flags and drums to command the legion. You will split it into four divisions: center, left, right, and back. You will keep the back division with you, afar from the battle and only command them to aid the others if they seem to break. Lord Aizu, Kizuki, and Tomishide, you will lead the other three divisions on the battlefield. The main army’s goal is to defend this position for five days, starting from today. Do not leave this position to engage. Let them do the job, and always stay at a defensive position. You stand between them and Inabayama, and since they know you don’t have our full force here, plus the defensive stance, there is a very high chance they think the rest of our army are pushing for Inabayama. They will have to rush back for its defense, and since they rush, they will make mistake. Be patient, and stand your ground. If you hold long enough, there will be a point they rush all their armies forward. If you succeed in holding your ground here, our campaign here is already success.”

“Where will you be, father? You leave your banners and bodyguards here, but you didn’t mention about your whereabouts. Should I act like you to fool the enemy that you are here?”

“Yes. That is your role too, Nobunaga. It is critical that they think I am here, so that they will be more determined to break our defensive line. Hatake and Haruki will accompany me, under the cover of the night and rush for lord Maeda’s legion. I will take command of that legion and flank Saito’s main army. The timing is crucial, so I have to be there and take direct command. Do you have any question?”

“When do we leave, m’lord?” General Takayama asked. He seemed to be satisfied with James’ plan for now.

“You and I will leave right after this meeting. Nobunaga, you will order the men to set up barricades and preparing the defense right after I left. The enemy will be here around noon, so you must be ready by then. Remember, just defend. Do not attack. Lord Aizu, Kizuki, Tomishide, I entrust my son and the main column for you three”

“We will not let you down, my daimyo.” They all bowed to him, and with his signal left the tent. Hatake had rushed out to prepare their horses for the departure.

“I suggest you put your armor on, Midori.” He realized his bodyguard was still in her light robe since they got back from the hill. She smiled at him and went to the corner where she hung her armor on a mannequin. He smiled at her as she struggle herself into the armor. “Let me help, will you?”

He could feel her blush even half the room away. He walked at her back and helped her tied up the straps, which she was struggling.

“You don’t have to m’lord. I can do it. It just take some extra time.”

“I don’t remember how many times you have helped me with my armor Midori. I know it’s a pain to put it on your own. Besides, we need to be hurry. The sun will rise soon.”

“Thank you,” he heard her talked in her quick breath. He wasn’t sure if it was him, or she was getting warmer and her heart beating faster. Either way, after helping her with the armor, they picked up the black cloaks and their katanas and left for Maeda’s division. It wasn’t a long ride, but it was deadly quiet. Nobody wanted to talk since they need to ride fast and silent. They sneaked past the enemy’s spies if there were, and even Lord Maeda’s perimeter patrol. When James showed up at the camp’s gate, the guards were startled as they took him to the commander’s tent. Lord Maeda too was surprised as he was woken up from his sleep. They had a quick debrief right after James arrived about his plan, as they need to move out quickly before sunrise.

While Lord Maeda was changing into his armor inside the tent, James ordered the legion to gather their gears and be ready to move out as soon as Lord Maeda was ready. Under the cover of the night, they hastily marched twenty miles southwards and hid inside the woods as the sun came up. Five times a day, James led the scouting squads with Midori, Hatake, and Masayori to observe the battle of their main army. Sometimes Lord Maeda left the camp for his subordinates and followed James in the scouting trips. It was just as James predicted that at noon of the following day that he left for Maeda’s legion, Saito’s army arrived, and they engaged the first skirmish that afternoon. Four days it had been and all they saw was small skirmishes.

“Why didn’t Saito launch an attack, m’lord? He’d been sending his men for small skirmishes along our defensive lines for four days already.”

“He’s scouting and baiting us for an assault. Best thing to do right now is wait.”

As James was speaking, the Saito pushed for a massive attack against Oda defense line. Both the main column and the wings charged forward, clashed into Oda’s defense line.

“Lord Maeda, you go back to our legion and order them to march quietly twenty miles behind the enemy’s line. Send out cavalry platoons to spot enemy’s perimeter patrol. If he fully wants to commit this time, I doubt he will keep patrol, but we just need to be sure. I don’t want our existence be known by the Saito.”

“At once, m’lord.” Lord Maeda rode back with his bodyguards into the woods. A while after the lord left, James saw Nobunaga split his reserved in half and rode down to flank the Saito’s wings. “Bold move,” he thought. “You know I am watching, don’t you Nobunaga? You just destroyed our reserved if Saito commit his, but isn’t that’s what we want? Good bait, but it’s a shame Saito didn’t commit. Too careful of an old man.”

As the Oda’s reserved arrived the battlefield, Saito’s wings routed, and soon, so did their main column. Since they routed and the Oda didn’t pursue, the Saito didn’t suffer much casualty even though all of their main three divisions were on retreat. “You stick to the plan, Oda. Do not engage under any circumstances.” The same thing happened on the sixth day as the Saito charged into Oda’s line, then retreated after fighting for a while. Their reserved still didn’t commit, which troubled James’ mind, and even his followers. They all wanted to fight and prove their bravery.

On the seventh day, Saito again charged his main columns forward. And as Nobunaga’s reserved charged towards his wings, his reserved marched forward, forcing Nobunaga’s flanking units in retreat. But that was all James had been waiting for. He led his legions charge into the back of Saito’s army. The other army was too committed into the previous battle for it to retreat in time. They were forced to fight in the middle of Oda’s surrounding. After several hours of fighting and a few attempts to break the encircled, Saito’s army surrendered and all of them were captured, including Saito Dosan. It was a clean victory.

“M’lord, how should we deal with these captives?” General Takayama asked the following day when they were at Inabayama castle. Following James’ plan, he took the castle with ease and were waiting for them by the time James and his main army defeated Saito Dosan and marched back to the castle. They were at the main yard of the castle, with all the enemy’s samurais kneeling on the ground.

“We have lost the fight, Oda. Spare us your insults and be quick with your blades. I hope you’re good at swinging your blades like you are at sneaking up at the other’s back,” Saito Dosan barked.

“Are you listening to yourself, Saito?” James laughed at his opponents words. “You did sneak up on me once, remember? You even had my retainer, the Akechi’s aid. And we routed them like we chased a bunch of hens. Did you forget that so quickly? And talking about blades, I don’t think you can even win me at sword fighting, old man. But it was a good fight, I give you that. So here’s my offer to all of you.”

He paused for a moment, and looked at his captives. “I do not want to kill all of you. You can see that I didn’t mistreat your family when I capture this castle. But I don’t want peace either. I want submission from you all. If you want to keep your honor with Saito clan, commit seppuku and I will make sure you have all the ceremonies a samurai deserves upon his death. If you want to serve me instead, and seek glory to redeem your honor after this defeat, bow to me and swear your fealty. You will serve under my command and my command only. If you ever have treacherous thoughts, look at the Akechi as examples.”

After his judgement, half of the men on the yard bowed to him, including Saito Dosan. He relieved them back with their family before summoning them again the following day to assign their positions. James left the executions for general Takayama and his subordinates, and retreated to his temporary quarter in the castle. It had been a very long time since he could relax a little bit. Midori was playing the biwa for him when he touched his earphone and check up with Rene in Mikawa.

“I’m back mate. So damn exhausting but I’m done dealing with this Saito thingy.” He said as he heard the other side picked up.

“Glad you made it out alive. You took quite a long time to contact me, didn’t you?”

“The Saito occupied me quite a while, but now once I’m done with them, I’ll go back to Nagoya soon. Then, we can start dealing with the Imagawa. Speaking of which, where are my horses?”

“Well actually they are unavailable for you right now. I had my men work on it, but since we’re still at war, we can’t establish trade.”

“Oh I forgot about that. It’s fine though. I want to use it later in the campaign, so we don’t have to rush. So, Yoshimoto?

“I have a window to destroy Imagawa’s main legion right here in Mikawa within two weeks.”

“Keep going. I’m listening.”

“Uh, well…” James could hear the hesitation in Rene’s tone today. He wasn’t paying much attention. Then, he sounded a bit startled. “Is Midori there? I heard some music.”

“Yeah she’s here with me. She doesn’t know what we’re talking about though. She just thinks I’m talking to myself.” James looked at Midori and laughed. For a moment, he could see the confusion on her face when he looked at her.

“So what’s the plan?” James resumed the talk once he realized Rene wasn’t speaking.

“Before that, I think I want to tell you about this girl.”

“Who? Midori?”

“No, forget it, wasn’t important. So, the Imagawa. There has been a development. The main column of Imagawa army will arrive at Okazaki in the next two weeks. I’m preparing a pincer with the rebellion I told you about the last time to crush it and possibly slain Yoshimoto as well.”

“What is the relative strength comparing two armies?” James didn’t notice the slight stuttering in Rene’s reply.

“Mine is a bit smaller in number, but with the element of surprise, I can finish him off.”

“It’s risky there mate. First, if they have a fortified position and in a camp, even though you have the element of surprise, it will take twenty thousand men, if not thirty to destroy ten thousand, and we’re not talking about the difference between experience of the armies. But it can be done though. If you can attack under the cover of the night with micromanagements to deal with their patrols, you can sneak up and kill off Yoshimoto without a big ruckus, so there’s that. Second, which is more important, do you have a trusted person who is holding your main army back in Okazaki?”

“What?”

“I ask, do you have a trusted general or lord who keep the command of your main army in the castle?”

“Oh, I haven’t thought about that. Why?”

“For one thing mate, in real life, you can’t control everything. You need your men and generals’ support to execute your plan. You’re rebelling against your Lord mate, so if you don’t do anything about it, your men perchance may not follow your orders.”

“Ok I’ll come up with something. Don’t worry. I can deal with this.”

“Alright, if you say so mate. Take care. I am here for your council anytime.”

“Copy. I’ll call for further updates. Out.” Rene hung up.

James fell flat with his back on the floor and relaxed after such a tiring week. He feared for his friend truly. If this game had Yoshimoto the man he was in history, Rene needed the calmness and patience to outmaneuver his enemy, which right now, he didn’t.

**********************************************************

Author: Dat Le

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