Watch King Gwanggaeto the Great 79 before reading. Time to wrap up the southern war campaigns. Murong Bao awaits.
Baekje & Silla: Opponents who alliances have to be formed with
On a tranquil day, the birds sing while two men stare out into the city from above. Bu Yeohong conveys to the king of Goguryeo how he felt Baekje had the perfect chance to conquer the country. Yet, the repeated failures against Goguryeo doesn’t anger him, rather it has changed his mindset,
I didn’t recognize an opponent that couldn’t be defeated and put Baekje in a crisis. I truly am in awe of you.
From this day forward Bu Yeohong wishes to faithfully follow Gwanggaeto and help achieve his great plan.
Except not everybody trusts him.
In a war meeting, Yeo Seokgae expresses his anger and confusion as to why Asin still lives after going against Goguryeo multiple times. Isn’t there a limit to mercy?
At that moment, Damdeok steps into the room and sets his servant straight explaining there’s a huge difference between opponents deserving death and those where an alliance suffices.
Not stopping there, Yeo Seokage further protests Bu Yeohong’s assignment as the guide in the Wae Japan invasion. Unbeknownst to him though, Baekje soldiers barge into the Ahyehyeon prison during the night to free Soga Sen’s subordinate.
Imagine his reaction once onboard the fleet hearing Bu Yeohong will be the one meeting the Wae leader to demand a surrender; he goes nuts. How can you trust someone who makes betrayal a habit? Only because Yeo Seokgae can tag along to ensure nothing fishy goes on does he calm down. Even still, Yeo Seokgae looks at the guide suspiciously as they sail the waters.
Wae Japan: Opponents who have to be killed in battle
The non-existing disease that kills in reality
Meanwhile at the Goguryeo camp in Japan, general Hae Mowol orders
- the roundup & imprisonment of local doctors in the residential area.
- the burning of animals with an awful smell around the camp.
- the appearance of the army rushing to withdraw at the inlet.
The Wae force report this development which pleases general Soga Sen. The Goguryeo troops must have an endemic disease since they’re recruiting doctors and it smells like burning corpses. Why bother attacking at this moment? If they wait patiently, the enemy will lose large numbers naturally and retreat within three days.
The morning the Goguryeo unit start pulling back on the road to the inlet, the Wae army launch their attack behind hoping to destroy the sick army.
What disease? Oh, how mistaken they are!
They land on an ambush where Soga Sen barely escapes, earning an injury for his wrong diagnosis.
Later upon his arrival, Damdeok praises Hae Mowol’s craftiness in delaying the enemy.
Bu Yeohong & the continual deception
Returning to the main base, the defeated general faces the Wae leader in shame. The discussion is cut short as Soga’s subordinate enters informing those present of his escape and the coming arrival of Baekje’s military strategist.
Within moments, Bu Yeohong and his party appear somewhat unexpectedly. The suspicion is Baekje needs reinforcements in the battle against Goguryeo.
But before the talks carry on, Soga Sen recognizes a face. It’s that man during the fight for Silla. The disguise ruined, Yeo Seokgae gets up chuckling and mocking how the general ran away.
Questioned why a Goguryeo soldier dwells among them, Bu Yeohong and his men point their weapons at the man in question. He’s here to kill the leader, they shout. Yeo Seokgae knew it, a traitor is always a traitor. Outraged for turning on him, he goes on the attack but the guards quickly subdue him.
Not only did Goguryeo defeat Baekje but they’re also holding Asin hostage, Bu Yeohong explains later. He had no choice but lead the enemy to them.
Asked how this could’ve happened, Soga Sen replies
Goguryeo soldiers are courageous and good with strategies. They’re not an easy opponent to fight.
*looks sideways* _|￣|⑬ hehe. Guess he would know from personal experience.
Although the worried Wae leader considers hiding on the main land, Bu Yeohong convinces them to capture the Goguryeo king.
If Damdeok hears the seizure of Wae’s ruler upon arrival, he will relax and bring a few generals along with Baekje troops as guides. Those soldiers, however, will turn on him. All they need is Soga and a fake leader to act as tied prisoners.
Not knowing the outcome of battles can come to bite you later
And that’s what happens. The Goguryeo king travels to the enemy’s main base with one Baekje unit and as soon Damdeok enters the leader’s office, a smirk lands on Soga Sen’s face.
Immediately, the Baekje soldiers unsheathe their swords and threaten the Goguryeo ruler. Removing the loose rope around the body, Soga announces the king’s imminent death. But just as quickly, these same soldiers turn and point their blades at Soga to his confusion.
Fool. The target wasn’t your leader. It was you. You are the leader of the army. If we have you, the leader will surrender naturally.
Realizing the trickery, Soga Sen furiously charges and attacks the enemy king… pointlessly: Damdeok takes the general’s life that day.
The Wae leader and ministers have no choice but submit. Although Goguryeo planned to conquer Wae, they offer to forgive, warning them of terrible retaliation should they ever cross the ocean again. In no position to even dispute, the Wae leader agrees on his knees.
The Japanese tamed, the Goguryeo army pull out for a return trip home where Damdeok surprises his servants by revealing Bu Yeohong as the mastermind of the Wae campaign. At once, all doubts of his allegiance evaporate. Also divulged — privately though — is the intention to replace the sick Silla king with Silseong.
Goguryeo is no match for Sukgunseong
Back up north, the Houyan emperor can’t control his anger. It’s been a month since attacking Mokjeosong and there’s nothing to show for it. The generals try calming the king stating
- The army have surrounded the nearby fortresses.
- The Goguryeo army must be tired by now.
- Reinforcements and military rations have been cut off.
The mood swings though when news arrive that Sukgunseong has routed the attacking Goguryeo army. It seems they chose well in not retreating earlier. What’s more, because they were composed of soldiers from Yodongseong, Goguryeo depleted their reinforcements in that offensive campaign. Once Mokjeoseong falls, it’s over.
Following Murong Un’s proposal, Houyan plans to divide their forces in two,
- Offensive: From Namsoseong, Murong Xi & Un will lead one part in the attack, receiving more troops as needed.
- Defensive: . Houyan can’t lose Sinseong less they become stranded deep in enemy territory. A dangerous position to be in. Sukgunseong’s victory frees up troops that will now come as reinforcements to further reinforce their foothold & hopefully tilt the war in their favor.
Nevertheless, Goguryeo is aware of the enemy’s advantage as they’ll minimize damages and stay inside their fortresses until their large reinforcements arrive. Before more troops get here, Goguryeo needs to get them out and fight.
Not until much later does Houyan encounter the scheme of Ha Muji: returning the favor, Namsoseong’s water supply has been cut off. And now the problems rise up again and Murong Xi isn’t sure what to do.
- Even though Damdeok has a small army of 30.000, Murong Xi can’t attack unless he wants to suffer huge losses.
- The army can’t last long without drinking water.
- Withdrawing to Sinseong may be a viable option except Damdeok could have ambush parties ready.
- They could ask Sinseong for help but it doesn’t come without risks. If Goguryeo apprehends the messenger, the enemy will learn military secrets.
We last observe Goguryeo sending tons of scouts to intercept any Houyan messenger.