Four months had passed since Holly had launched her first salvo against Flaysac’s bandits.
Right now, her troops were assaulting a giant, reinforced gate (built into the north-south pass that cut through the mountains) with a thirty-foot battering ram. Steel canopies protruded from its sides, protecting the Indashi from most of the arrows, but some of the missiles were still getting through, spearing them through their feet or their calves.
The assaulters were making incremental progress. If they had been at a standstill, that would been a reason to try something else, or at least hold off. But as things stood, they were making headway bit by bit.
Predictably, Holly had doubled down, declaring loudly that they’d break through any moment now.
Like every despot who’d come before her, Holly considered herself a true innovator. It would have shocked her to know she was simply the latest in a long line of many—hers was a boring, sad tale that had been told and retold since the dawn of time. But that’s not how she saw it; she’d bent an entire kingdom to her will, goddammit. Fuck ponies and trips to Disneyland; this was what she’d wanted all along—a fantasy-world version of World War I.
(When she made it back to Earth, she was definitely running for office.)
Yinhalka’s voice interrupted her thoughts: “We’ll need twelve more battalions to maintain our tempo. The ones we have will last another month, according to estimates.”
“I’ve spoken with logistics.” Holly shifted astride her raptor. “Troops are en route.”
“Excellent. We’ll break these bandits like the cock-weasels they are.”
Holly laughed. “Damn straight we will.”
A half-mile ahead, the Indashis on the ram roared out a count—one, two, THREE—and drove forward, slamming the gate with several tons of banded wood. The outlaws responded with arrows and catapults, eliciting fresh screams from the attacking barbarians.
On the other side of existence, Peter and his friends were trying to break through a different kind of portal.
Different in form, but similar in nature.