King Gwanggaeto eps 80: The Houyan mass exodus

Watch Damduk Great Emperor 80 before reading the spoiler. The massive Houyan army begin their march to the capital… just not the one they expected.

Leave the devastating power in war to scouts

Keeping the Namsoseong fortress as you found it

Reading the latest update from his brother, Murong Bao is taken aback learning he needs military aid while abandoning and escaping Namsoseong.

After all the hard work to own that fortress, how can the Houyan prince give it up so easily simply due to water supply issues?

During the night, Murong Xi sneaks out of Namsoseong hoping to reconnect with the emperor except Damdeok’s army stands along the way already expecting them. To tie down the Goguryeo force and buy the prince an opportunity to retreat, general Daiqi leads his unit on the attack. Although the Goguryeo king breaks off for the chase, he eventually lets them go and starts heading to Sinseong since that’s their final destination anyway.

How Sinseong collapses from the inside

By morning, Murong Bao receives another update reporting the surprise attack on Xi’s army. What the heck is happening? According to the earlier messenger, his brother is supposed to withdraw tomorrow. If he was planning to pull out earlier, why didn’t he say so? Not wanting to lose Namsoseong before it’s too late, the emperor empties the fortress and sends the bulk of his army to recover it.

Goguryeo scouts, however, had intercepted and tampered with communications earlier, unbeknownst to the Houyan camp.

As the last Houyan unit moves out, the Goguryeo soldiers in hiding storm the gates of Sinseong, keeping a passage open for their comrades. By the time the whole army enters and the gates are closed, Murong Bao is made aware of the infiltration, yet rage propels him to face the enemy head on.

At once, the fight erupts between both forces but the king of Goguryeo overpowers the Houyan ruler and knocks him to the ground. Pulling back on the weapon to impale his rival, a spear comes flying at Damdeok to increase the gap between them.

Taking this chance provided by Biaoge’s meddling, Fengba pulls Murong Bao away from the fight and although the Goguryeo army pursues, the arrival of the reinforcements from Sukgunseong prevents his capture. Continuing without knowing the army size will only result in huge losses and instead they settle on securing the Sinseong base.

Emperor Bao: A determination that overlooks obstacles

A battle for your own satisfaction

Goguryeo may rejoice but not too far away, the Houyan army marches back home with heads hung low obscuring the depressed looks painted across. Could there have been a more embarrassing defeat?

The war against Goguryeo, however, isn’t over, not by a long shot. In the next meeting, Murong Bao addresses the ministers stating his intent to rev the war engine and begin the next campaign in less than a year, regardless of concerns over:

  • The last battle wiping over half of their 200,000 soldiers.
  • The other half seriously injured or unable to fight.
  • The lack of war funds.
  • All the generals preferring reorganization as opposed to an attack so soon.

What? Did they just forget what happened? The Houyan emperor rebukes the leaders,

You want me to live with all this humiliation? It isn’t just a humiliation for me. It is humiliation for all our people. You saw how they trampled all over our soldiers. You saw how tragic that was. Didn’t you see all that? I can’t live under the same sky as Damdeok and those Goguryeo soldiers.

Even Murong Xi’s pleas and suggestion he’ll take responsibility for the war’s outcome only seems to prod his anger further. Anyone caught not keeping pace with war preparations will forfeit their life.

The volunteer scapegoat who wishes to change a country’s fate

But after Fengba warns the Houyan ruler of his brother’s rising popularity, Murong Bao takes Xi up on his offer in the next court meeting: Pinning the responsibility for the recent failure, the prince loses his royal position and becomes a servant. Had Xi not left Namsoseong and caused the chain of confusion, Houyan would still be threatening Goguryeo.

The new servant quietly accepts his punishment without contention.

Elsewhere, while walking to meet his servant, the street scene loudly rings a bell of alarm as people with money clamor to buy government positions. Is this really one response to financing problems? Add riots over excessive taxes and Murong Un begins to seriously worry over the country’s future. If Houyan falls, so does his dream of revenge.

He attempts opening the emperor’s eyes to the signs of a crumbling nation, yet Murong Bao simply ignores the warnings.

There is no other choice.

Getting together at a late hour, Murong Un meets the former prince and reveals the state crumbling before their eyes.

  • The government suppressing riots with force.
  • Money holding more sway than merit.

Murong Un pushes for a change in the throne.

Houyan will fall before it goes to battle against Goguryeo. Public sentiment must be recovered and the court must return to normal

It’s a matter of time before Houyan is taken by Goguryeo or Beiwei.

Murong Xi, however, refuses to consider any form of treason.

How a different leader handles refilling the state coffers

Goguryeo, in a similar predicament. has depleted their budget during the past battles. Nevertheless, Damdeok doesn’t want to raise taxes again and instead comes up with different measures.

  1. Take advantage of your feudal states: Goguryeo can encourage trade between Baekje & Silla and allow them use of their cart road to save traveling time. Becoming an intermediary has its financial reward, of course.
  2. Why waste any funds on attacking?: Now would be a good time to reuse a true & tried method of bringing internal chaos.
Turning the promise to your father a lie

Back at Zhongsan, someone has placed a public notice criticizing the ruler as a war monger and also calling for a change in leadership, drumming support for the brother instead. Murong Bao knows he’s losing public support and immediately calls for a full investigation.

Coincidentally, Murong Xi changes his mind on driving out the current ruler and decides meeting Murong Un.

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