Watch Damdeok, the Great episode 76 if you haven’t. The Houyan investigators are closing in on the spy.
A leader forgets what’s really important to his own detriment
Coming forward, Batar laughs at his disadvantaged enemy. Revenge is so close now. Signaling with his sword, the Houyan archers launch a set of fire arrows to soften the Goguryeo unit followed by the charge of the infantrymen.
Not waiting long, the Goguryeo king calls for a full retreat and leads his troops away. For a time the chase carries on in the night until they enter a narrow passage where the Goguryeo soldiers stop and turn around. Are they ready to meet their fate?
Batar orders their annihilation. Suddenly, to their flank above the road, lines of Biryeo archers appear and return the Houyan soldiers their air attack. How can this be? With Batar’s men dying and the table turned, Goguryeo troops open passage revealing Damdeok. “Did you think I wouldn’t know about your ploy?”, the king asks.
On route to Mt. Hwanggyesan earlier, a peasant carrying goods got in the way of the marching Goguryeo army and secretly gave Seol Ji a warning message. It was none other than Ha Muji’s second scout disguised to avoid detection by Biryeo rebels.
Still grappling with his fellow Biryeo people siding with Goguryeo, Damdeok mentions his brother’s will which only enrages the Biryeo chief to attack. In the end, however, Batar’s actions only leads him on the ground staring at Damdeok’s blade.
Things get worse when Agban and Ari arrive on Damdeok’s side. The traitors! Both try convincing the Biryeo chief to change his stance. Submitting to Goguryeo has only led their country to peace and a rejoice of the people.
The people don’t care who the king or the chief is. They just have to live peaceful lives without being hungry. As the chief, you didn’t even understand that simple mind.
Houyan: A nation faces its shameful act
Returning to the Houyan capital next day, Damdeok confronts Murong Bao outside over the attempted regicide. As proof Hwang Hoe reads out loud the participating Houyan members who dressed up as Biryeo soldiers during the attack:
- Bang Shanwu of Hanbocheng & his 150 soldier unit.
- Hai Siwu of Liuancheng & his 200 soldier unit.
- General Fengba’s 300 soldiers.
- The 100 cavalry soldiers including Ya Xuzheng.
And they won’t be returned less they run the risk of Houyan hiding the only evidence of their crime.
Both country leaders later meet up in the palace where Damdeok demands loyalty in the form of:
- Ceasefire: For 3 years, Houyan must not attack Goguryeo or its allies.
- Pulling back troops from the border: To prevent any mishaps, Houyan must also move their military 200 km away from the border.
Not willing to decide on the matter just yet, Murong Bao asks for time to think it over.
Although slightly calm earlier, the new Houyan emperor explodes on his servants. Despite cutting off messengers, the ambush failed and no one knows what happened. Now Houyan stands to make further concessions on top of the Magoseong issue. How could they put the nation on a bind?
Murong Bao then turns his fury to his younger brother, bringing Xi’s loyalty under question. Was this his plan all along? Did their father’s words fall on deaf ears? Regardless of how many times Murong Xi denies the accusations, his older brother will not let this go: Either discover the true spy leaking information or be held responsible.
The danger princess Damju finds herself in
What you can’t find, you can also create
Returning to his quarters, general Fengba tries calming the upset Houyan prince. The search isn’t so bad, there’s only one suspect left: Murong Bao’s wife.
Who else can freely walk around in the palace and have the motivation to help the enemy? On the plus side, by capturing Damdeok’s sister, Houyan will hold leverage for negotiations.
Catch a rat with a piece of paper
Later in the day, Damju’s female servant whispers that her husband has gone to the shrine to burn incense with his younger brother. Taking advantage of his absence, princess Damju passes by Murong Bao’s quarters and finds a letter on his desk, exchanges made with fortress lords.
Upon reading, she hurries to the envoy quarter and informs her brother of Houyan’s scheme.
- Once king Damdeok returns home, all Goguryeo migrants at Tongmancheng & Canyuecheng will die.
- Houyan will ally with Beiwei, Dongjin & Baekje.
A sacrifice for royalty means support for one’s nation
Next day, both the Goguryeo and Houyan emperor get together once more to settle all issues. Handing Damdeok a royal writ, Houyan accepts all of Goguryeo’s terms.
Yet, Damdeok remains skeptical of Houyan promises and adds, “Don’t express your rage on Goguryeo migrants and don’t cross the border.”
But why is the Goguryeo king mentioning the migrants out of the blue? The Magoseong matter has long been settled. On top of that, he’s getting everything he asked for.
But no, Damdeok wants Murong Bao to guarantee the safety of all Goguryeo migrants living in Houyan too. That wasn’t part of deal though.
You’ve got rats in our palace. I’m not sure why I have to show Houyan’s loyalty to Goguryeo.
Damdeok doesn’t follow though.
Last night, Xi and general Feng Ba blamed the emperor’s wife as the secret Goguryeo agent in his face. Not believing it one bit, they exposed their trap: They left a false letter indicating the emperor would kill all migrants in retaliation. If Damdeok mentions any of this…
Bao then questions Damdeok,
Who told you there are Goguryeo migrants in Tongmancheng and Canyuecheng? I’m sure you can’t answer since you heard it from…
As Fengba brings her into the room, Murong Bao points to his wife. The spy they’ve been looking for. Having his nemesis right where he wants him, the Houyan emperor looks Damdeok squarely in the eye and threatens, “Do you want to see how we execute traitors?”
Then all of a sudden, someone shouts “Stop!”. Grabbing the room’s attention, Do Gwang barges in and confesses to being the true spy. Damju is innocent. Right away, Murong Bao orders his immediate arrest but Damdeok won’t let the false accusation of his sister go. He demands the following appended to the royal letter.
- Houyan must treat all Goguryeo migrants at Tongmancheng, Canyuecheng, and Magoseong as if they were Houyan citizens.
- The emperor needs to guarantee nothing will happen to the Goguryeo princess.
Bao ultimately relents and agrees, however won’t let Do Gwang go scott free. He must pay for his act of treason.
Goguryeo & Houyan will know at least 3 years of peace
With the treaty signed, both countries have bought themselves time to build up their respective countries.
With rage still boiling inside for always being on the losing end, Murong Bao gives a glimpse of things to come in his country:
Prepare well. Propose alliances with enemy nations and increase funds to nurture our army. Houyan is going to suffer extremely harsh winters for 3 years. We have to conquer Goguryeo.