King Gwanggaeto eps 85: The spark of a new war

Before reading the spoilers, watch Gwanggaeto Daewang episode 85. Damju can’t stop running if she is to evade the hands of Houyan & return to her brother.

Escaping Houyan & returning home in a different state

The thought of committing suicide sends chills in the spine of your captors

Pulling the dagger closer to her neck, the Goguryeo princess warns Fengba to take his soldiers and leave or else they will lose what they seek: herself, the only thing holding back Goguryeo from attacking Houyan.

She won’t stand for everyone killing themselves over her. If they withdraw, Damju will come along peacefully.

No deal.

Fengba stipulates her son must come as well.

She screams back.

Do you think I don’t know what His Majesty is up to? You only let Huwang live to use me… If you want to take Huwang, kill me first!

The nonexisting can frighten even grown men

Before more can be said, arrows cut through the front row of Fengba’s men. From afar, Hwang Hoe leads soldiers on the attack as Yeo Seokgae announces the Goguryeo king is here.

Damdeok? A Houyan soldier reports there’s a long line of troops marching on the road. Who else could it be?

With all the fighting going on, Seol Ji takes the opportunity to run away with the princess to the point of leaving the scene. Yet, Hwang Hoe won’t let his army back down. They must hold out despite lacking enough soldiers and buy Damdeok’s sister as much time to further increase the gap between them and the enemy.

On the other side, Fengba calls for a retreat, afraid of Damdeok’s main army surrounding them. Running away with some soldiers, Fengba stops midway upon noticing not one soul chasing after. Where in the world is that large army of the enemy king?

Soon, though, those suspicions are forgotten when news arrive of Murong Xi being in the area. What good timing. Reconnecting with the emperor, Murong Xi asks if he succeeded in capturing the Goguryeo woman but the general tries explaining the appearance of Goguryeo reinforcements.

Reinforcements? Murong Xi immediately smacks Fengba across the face.

Can’t he tell the difference? That was the Houyan army! If he can’t catch her, he should be ready to pay for his mistake.

The last dash to the Goguryeo border

At once, the Houyan force begin scouring the entire area and slowly close in on Damju’s location.

Huwang, noticing a shiny golden jewelry on a rock, stands and walks to pick it up, giving away his mother’s hidden spot. The emperor recognizes the boy and orders soldiers after him.

^▽^) hehe. That’s what you call a bad son.

Their hideout compromised, Seol Ji jumps from behind a tree and launches her hidden dagger, barely missing the Houyan emperor. And so the chase reignites once more.

However, it doesn’t take long before princess Damju stumbles from her injury and realizes the danger the boy is in because of her. She looks to Seol Ji to take Huwang out of here. If only one is to escape, it must be her son. Seol Ji complies and carries the boy ahead.

Damju: The death of a princess, a sister & a mother?

It’s too late. By now, Murong Xi and his men have caught up.

Pulling back the string of the bow, Murong Xi fires at the legs and brings Seol Ji to the ground.

*covers eyes* No like where this is going…

Not done, the Houyan emperor pulls back again and aims for the little boy next. In pain, Seol Ji stands up to intercept the arrow’s path but falls right back down.

Fired, the loose arrow rapidly leaps into the air and hits flesh.

Just not the toddler prince.

With no one else to protect her son, Damju runs and blocks the blow with her spine at the last minute. Immediately afterwards, the other Houyan soldiers follow suit and land more arrows on her. Stumbling forward, the mother falls on her knees before her son whom she quickly hugs.

Determined to still grab her, Murong Xi orders the army forward but flying arrows start killing his troops. Looking ahead, they spot the Cheongun army and regardless of how much Murong Xi wishes to continue fighting, the generals warn they won’t last long against these elite soldiers. Grudgingly, they start pulling back.

Murong Un, worried over the fate of Damju, can only mouth “Gongju-mama” before having to leave as well.

Both side continuing fighting, a group of Goguryeo soldiers carry Damdeok’s sister over to a safer place behind a boulder.

Blood covers the princess’ mouth while a worn look adorns her face. Barely any energy left, Damju looks to her son and touches his cheek before pulling the hand of Seol Ji and assigning her a final task.

Please take care of Huwang. Tell my brother I’m sorry I couldn’t make it.

Taking one last look, she brings her son closer and hugs him with a brief smile of relief before swinging her head down and leaving behind a motionless body, weeping servants, and a heartbroken brother.

And so dies Damju. (ノ_・。) …

Damdeok’s rage: The war that you yearn for by your actions

Back at Longcheng, the Houyan court ultimately learns the princess’s fate and the loss of their only leverage, which can only mean one thing: imminent war!

What makes the situation worse still is everything swinging to Beiwei’s favor. Houyan can’t possibly win against the combined might of Goguryeo and Beiwei. Houyan can only hope to break the potential alliance and delay any battle. Murong Un volunteers traveling to Goguryeo as an envoy to buy time but while there, someone else needs to see and strike up an alliance with Beiwei. But how can one convince Beiwei into friendly relations?

Traveling only to listen to a menacing threat

At the Goguryeo capital, Damdeok announces his intention to conquer Houyan. Now isn’t the time, Ha Muji disagrees. It’s best to watch how the situation plays out between Houyan and Beiwei before jumping in. The other leaders join in in agreement.

King Gwanggaeto can’t believe what he’s hearing and rebukes their thinking.

Are you telling me to tiptoe around and see what they do? …

Since when did Goguryeo have so much fear? Since when was Goguryeo afraid of getting hurt? Goguryeo’s power overwhelms Houyan. Am I wrong?

The king then orders everybody to get ready for war. There is no stopping it.

Later in the day, Murong Un checks in calling for the government to hand over prince Huwang. The toddler is part of the royal family. Damdeok sees through the fake excuse and cuts their meeting short telling Murong Un to leave and relay the following message to his ruler.

I will kill him and Houyan will fall. Houyan will receive an answer for the death of Damju and all the shameless acts that were committed against Goguryeo. Even if you join forces with Beiwei, I will not be afraid. You will die by my hands.

A white flag: A cornered rat’s last item in the trick box

Going on at the same time, Fengba enters the Beiwei capital and meets Youzheng in secret where he calls for a union of both their countries. Regardless of being enemies for so long, the general argues it’s in their interest to work together.

  • Both are of the Xianbei people.
  • Both have a common enemy.
  • Houyan will offer Tongwancheong and 50 fortresses in the area.

Youzheng laughs at the idea. Currently, Beiwei is at an advantage in the war and knows Houyan can’t avoid a battle against Goguryeo after killing Damju. More importantly, if they join Goguryeo, they can receive a whole lot more.

Before leaving for an inn, Fengba states Goguryeo won’t join forces with Beiwei. It’s not their way to call for help.

Once gone, Youzheng wonders why Goguryeo hasn’t sent an envoy already. The Beiwei king will join in instantly if they would just bring up the subject. They can only assume Goguryeo is waiting for them to make the first move.

Whether you join or not doesn’t matter in the end

And so Youzheng travels to the Goguryeo palace to propose a joint attack and seek an answer from the horse’s mouth. Trouble arises though when Damdeok asks the spoils of war Beiwei expects in return. Oh, nothing more than

  • 70% of the Houyan territory.
  • Tribute paid twice a year.

That much? Unacceptable especially considering Goguryeo can destroy Houyan alone.

Confidently, Youzheng tries forcing the issue and reminds the king it’s a small price to keep Beiwei from switching sides. To this, he brings up Houyan’s offer.

You know how much of a threat an alliance between Houyan and Beiwei could be. Of course, Goguryeo is powerful but you can’t fight both countries.

It doesn’t matter. Beiwei attacks Goguryeo at their own peril. He shoots his last warning to the envoy.

But you will see what the price is for making Goguryeo an enemy. It will be too late to regret then.

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