Can the Houyan prince attempt to kill a family member & grab the throne he so longs for? Watch Damdeok episode 73 before reading the spoilers below
Murong Chui: Witnessing the struggle for your throne
You can’t stop a man from drinking good alcohol
Seated in a chair, Murong Chui puts forward his cup to the birthday boy
I wish to have a drink with my two sons. Pour me a drink.
Unable to do anything else at his father’s request, Murong Xi nervously pours him some of the special wine. But nearing the emperor’s mouth, the Houyan prince quickly asks for the drink back. Why? Because it’s his special day and would be an honor. No, Murong Chui still wants it, more so since it comes from his son.
As he brings the cup back to his lips, Murong Xi urgently calls his father’s attention again. Looking at his son, the father explains not to worry about his sickness. He’s feeling just fine. To his son’s surprise, the emperor downs the whole cup of wine without delay. That was some great wine, the ruler remarks.
A parent is a sponge when it comes to children’s mistakes
Having had enough, the Houyan emperor decides to leave and let the party continue. The effects slowly kicking in outside, Murong Chui holds onto a wall as he looks back and sighs over what has transpired. But returning to his private royal office, the poison takes hold and the emperor begins coughing up blood, to which he orders his surrounding servants to keep to themselves.
Suddenly, Murong Xi rushes in knowing exactly what he has done. Kneeling before his father, he asks for forgiveness and suggests atoning for this with his life.
The father quickly shouts and rebukes him.
You fool! How dare you talk about death so lightly. You still don’t understand my intentions?
Xi’s ambitions drove him far if he was willing to murder his older brother with poison. Murong Chui knew the cup meant death but he still drank it in order to take full responsibility and prevent his son’s irreversible mistake. The father then tells his son to return back to the party and forget about his lust for power.
Although full with tears and regret, Murong Xi complies and slowly leaves. At this, the Houyan emperor hands a nearby servant a secret royal order.
Silence the witnesses & it’s like it never happened
At the crown prince’s quarters, Murong Bao and company sense something strange going on tonight and decide to ask general Yangyou since he was around the Houyan emperor. But arriving to his room, general Fengba finds Yangyou lying dead on the floor. Quickly, his group rush outside and barely rescue the royal doctor, the only other person who would know what’s happening, from masked assassins.
After interrogating the doctor and learning of the failed fratricide, Murong Bao angrily heads towards his brother’s room but, lo and behold, he’s just outside. Drawing the sword to Xi’s neck, the crown prince asks if he knows what he did.
Right now Murong Xi doesn’t care about his life and pushes the weapon away saying,
Brother, make me pay for this later.
He needs to see the Houyan emperor right away!
Family unity: The last lesson a father can leave behind
Reaching his father’s quarters, he rushes next to the bed of Murong Chui and attempts giving him another drink. Seeing this, Murong Bao rapidly grabs the bottle and smashes it to the floor.
Murong Xi can’t believe it!
No! Do you know what that was?
This was the antidote his servant, Taiqi, brought earlier which had a small chance of saving him.
Finally waking up, Murong Chui tells them to stop fighting. With a rather sick look, the Houyan emperor tells the crown prince not to point his sword at family.
He knows his younger brother tried to kill him, Murong Bao exclaims. Murong Chui, however, disputes that accusation; Xi would never do such a thing. Bao doesn’t buy the story and asks why he drank the poison. Still denying the events, the Houyan emperor teaches
Bao! You will become the emperor soon. An emperor’s position isn’t one where you can have everything. It’s one where you have to let everything go. Just think about the future of Houyan.
The father then looks to Xi and tells him as the best Houyan general, he must unify the servants under him and prevent dissension.
Turning back to Bao, the Houyan father continues: If by some chance what the crown prince claims is true, he should forgive because he charges Bao with taking care of his brother for the rest of his life.
The peaceful death of Murong Chui
The father then holds both their hands.
Houyan became this powerful because of the two of you. Bao. Don’t forget. You are my sons. I will be proud of you even after I die.
With all that had to be said said, Murong Chui lies back on his bed, coughing one last time before entering his eternal slumber covered in golden sheets.
Seeing their father gone, both Murong sons weep as Xi cries he won’t ever commit the same mistake again.
Everybody comes together once you leave for the next world
A condolence party knows no friend nor foe
Meanwhile, back at Gungnaeseong, word reaches Goguryeo of Murong Chui passing away. Even though his generals try dissuading him, Damdeok plans to pay his condolences.
- The ex commander would’ve gone: Houyan sent a condolence party when Ko Mu died. If the late Ko Mu was alive, he surely would’ve paid his old friend a visit.
- A diplomatic matter: Word is Houyan transfered Goguryeo migrants near the border of Beiwei to act as a shield against them. This needs to stop!
- Flex muscles: Lastly, this trip is a good chance to display the country’s strength.
Only unexpected circumstances can change you
At the Houyan palace, both Murong brothers make amends. The crown prince tells his younger brother he doesn’t need to worry of retaliation, he will respect their father’s wish for family unity and try to accept him. In turn, Xi pledges to bring Goguryeo down and give Bao his full support. Just as they point out Damdeok’s role in bringing a wedge between them, they learn the devil himself is riding to the capital as they speak.
After paying respect in Murong Chui’s shrine, both country leaders meet at the crown prince’s office. And right away Murong Bao takes offense when Damdeok points out their bad intentions during Houyan’s visit for Ko Mu. Goguryeo just did the same thing. They know of Damdeok’s plot to divide the Murong family when they sent Ha Muji.
Acting submissive, but looking for ways to betray someone. Aren’t you better at that than me? …
We are both rulers of countries. We have to act for national benefit. We can’t act out for personal emotions. There is nothing I couldn’t do for Houyan.
Taken aback, Damdeok can only chuckle at how mature his adversary has become since he last held him hostage.
A father’s sacrifice to prevent internal strife
Later that day, princess Damju pays her brother a visit at the Envoy quarters and confirms the whispers that the Houyan emperor died during Murong Xi’s birthday party due to the power struggle between princes. The father took the bullet to keep the royal family together. Indeed, Ha Muji’s provocations worked all too well which explains why the crown prince seemed to be in rage.
Magoseong: The misery of the Goguryeo migrants
When they take everything away, you’re bound to do anything
Next we see Yeo Seokgae riding with Ari to a Magoseong village where soldiers are separating parents and their children. Since they can’t do much, they pull back to meet the chief of the migrant village, Song Pil, at his house.
The Cheongun soldiers expect a warm greeting when they present themselves yet the migrants blame Damdeok for their misfortunes.
- Young men are forced to hard labor
- To make up for unpaid taxes, the lord of Magoseong takes & molest the young women.
- Villagers starve & die.
In fact, they feel Goguryeo has abandoned them. Within moments, sad news arrive of Sohwa, a woman who was close to her marriage, lying on a straw mat dead. Because she was a servant of the fortress lord, soldiers are coming over to abduct new villagers with unpaid taxes.
However, the Goguryeo migrants are tired of this and will fight. What other choice do they have? The whole village have unpaid taxes. Also tired of the injustice and feeling pity for them, Yeo Seokgae joins their cause to take over the fortress.
Foreign domestic affairs is fair game if it involves your people
Not all the Goguryeo soldiers joins the rebellion. Ari quickly rides back to the Houyan capital and reports the situation. The problem is Cheongun’s involvement as it will complicate matters since they are currently guests to the country.
Of course, the crown prince catches wind of the riot in the migrant village and is ready to suppress them by force.
Suddenly, Damdeok barges into Murong Bao’s quarters and reminds him of his late father’s promise to care for the Goguryeo migrants. The Goguryeo king wishes to settle this peacefully himself and cuts a deal: If he can’t stop the riots, Damdeok will do anything the crown prince wants.
The rest of the Houyan generals wish to kill the enemy king while he’s here but Murong Un warns that the nearby nations won’t approve of it. So long as Damdeok is an envoy in the country, Houyan bears the responsibility of his safety.
Given that Damdeok will do anything for his people, Houyan just needs to put Damdeok in a bind. Instead of removing him from this world, they can do the second best thing: Extract practical benefits.
As Damdeok rides to Magoseong, we last see weapons flying towards the Goguryeo unit. Ahead of them, they come face to face with a large group of people.