If you haven’t seen episode 89 of 广开土太王, do so before reading. Houyan moves to take advantage of a mother and attempt killing her son.
Reeling from the opponent’s blow and the danger ahead
Gathering with his disheartened generals at the table, king Gwanggaeto laments the death of Yeon Salta. Owing the capture of Sujuncheng to his precious servant, the Goguryeo leaders further their resolve to eliminate the last Houyan resistance.
Feeling the blade ever so close to your throat
The Houyan emperor meanwhile lambastes his generals over the consecutive losses. Don’t they realize Goguryeo has driven them all the way to the capital? There is nowhere else left to run.
The generals can only muster empty promises of doing whatever it takes.
No, Murong Xi wants no more apologies or excuses. From this moment on, no one has a title. In order to get every Houyan soul behind the war, the general’s positions are up in the air. Whoever achieves merit will grab them, regardless if a low ranking soldier or common class citizen.
If a person doesn’t have any lips, his teeth will be cold
Concluding the meeting, Fengba and Murong Un gather elsewhere. The worried general asks if Houyan stands a chance, to which Murong Un replies by pulling out a piece of paper.
A Beiwei army is on the way to help.
Earlier, Murong Un sent a letter to clear up any misunderstandings and convince them to honor the alliance. How? He warned that if Beiwei does nothing and Houyan falls, they should know they are next. It is out of fear of Goguryeo that Beiwei sends reinforcements.
Hearing the good news, Fengba becomes relieved.
Reconciliation isn’t wanted at all times
Scout reports of Beiwei’s movement soon reach the Goguryeo camp causing alarm. Unless Goguryeo wants a strengthened opposition, they need to capture Longcheng before then. One problem though: it’ll take at least 15 days.
- The continuous battles has left the Goguryeo army tired & injured.
- Houyan’s existence depends on the war.
- Once again, the yellow dust storm will plague any war efforts.
The unintended consequences of self preservation
Discussing the situation privately with Chongmyeong, the bulb in Ha Muji’s head lights up. Sharing his idea with the king, he proposes invading Liuju, the border area between Houyan and Beiwei where the old capital, Zhongshan, used to reside.
With the renewed alliance, Houyan won’t need to worry about Liujucheng, the key fortress keeping Beiwei from invading. Houyan, then, will prioritize the defenses at the capital and gather troops there, leaving Liuju powerless. If they take the latter, Goguryeo can cause major drawbacks.
- Slow reinforcements from Beiwei.
- And since Liuju is behind the capital and Sujuncheng in front, Goguryeo can coordinate attacks from two sides.
Not forgetting the past, Damdeok agrees.
I guess it’s time for me to keep my promise with you.
Before leaving, the king appoints Ha Muji governor of Liuju.
Looking at Damdeok’s right arm
The departure of the 20,000 strong army, however, doesn’t go unnoticed by Sujuncheng spies. Tipped off, Murong Un realizes that Goguryeo knows of the incoming help and are moving to stop them via their weak spot.
If Liuju falls, Beiwei reinforcements won’t be able to come that way and instead need to take the longer route, one needing more than a month to cross.
Inquiring about the army’s leader, Murong Un receives confirmation concerning Ha Muji’s homeland and states,
Goguryeo is about to pay a high price.
A governorship position doesn’t necessarily last the whole term
A dog’s dilemma: Whom do you serve, the old or the new master?
By now, Ha Muji and Hae Mowol arrive just outside Liujucheng. Returning with an update, Ari informs both men everything going to plan: The leading Goguryeo unit is easily defeating the low reservoir of Houyan soldiers.
The defenses collapsing, the whole army proceeds to the fortress. As Ha Muji enters the command center, he finds a tied group of people on their knees. Immediately, the military advisor calls for their release and tries assuring them they aren’t in any danger. Speaking with the lord of Eoyanseong, Ha Muji conveys his wish that they all continue their duties but under the new leadership.
Although Liuju is now Goguryeo territory, they refuse to serve since
- the invasion could be temporary. They’ll have to pay with their lives once Houyan recovers the land.
- their loyalty isn’t so fickle.
Despite an outbreak from Ung Sim blade, the group stubbornly refuses to switch sides. Ha Muji commends their loyalty but tries persuading them
- There have been endless battles, more so since Liuju is a strategic location coveted by many countries. Under the new ownership, not many nations will challenge the area, especially now that Ha Muji intends to make it a peaceful region.
- Ever since Murong Chui’s death, homelessness and starvation are striking the Houyan people.
- The group will be able to keep their positions.
- The common people are safe under Damdeok’s rule.
All the new governor asks for is help in administering the region.
When it’s not yours, be as generous as possible
Afterwards, Ha Muji calls the lord of Eoyanseong to ask a favor regarding the whereabouts of his mother who died alone 20 years ago. He wishes to visit her grave. The Liuju leader agrees and will ask his distant relatives around Huocheng.
Rejoining the soldiers, Ha Muji helps Chongmyeong freely offer grain to the people and insists on giving them a lot. What better way to win the people over? Especially if the rations used to belong to Houyan’s military.
Making yourself appetizing to draw the bear out of the den
Back at the Goguryeo command in Longcheng, the constant defeats over the past ten days are increasing their casualties and exhausting the soldiers. Nothing is working. At this rate, they’ll still be here in a month.
The only thing going for them is Ha Muji’s ambush party holding off Beiwei. If they want to support their ally, Beiwei reinforcements will need to pass the dangerous path between Jigu and Tongfang.
Not wanting to wait longer, the Goguryeo leaders decide to lure Murong Xi out of the capital. If Goguryeo slows down their attack, reduce the number of attacking soldiers, decrease the guards here, and just make it look like the army is more exhausted than is, the Houyan emperor will bite on the opportunity and launch an offensive.
Discovering too late that you can’t see ahead
Meanwhile, rushing with the location of the burial, the lord of Eoyanseong relays his fortunate discovery to the Liuju governor. Excited at the thought of visiting his mother, Ha Muji prepares to leave this instance.
And although, Hae Maewol urges the governor to take a larger force, Ha Muji refuses, not wanting to burden the troops for personal reasons.
Setting off, the group walks into the forest and Ha Muji can’t think of anything but finally being with his mother who died without company.
Out of nowhere, black masked men jump out and attack the traveling party. The assassins overwhelming the small number of escorts, Ha Muji and the lord of Eoyanseong run away.
The Goguryeo guards fall down one by one and even Chongmyeong scrambles for his life. However, more Goguryeo soldiers soon hit the scene scaring the ambush unit. Apparently, general Hae Mowol sent these additional men just in case. As everything calms down, they notice the governor isn’t anywhere to be found.
Reconnecting with the mother once again
Following the other behind, both men increase their distance from the ambush site.
Suddenly, the lord of Eoyanseong stops ahead and draws out his blade. Before turning around, Ha Muji realizes his great mistake.
Unbeknownst to the governor, those 20 elite soldiers weren’t an accident. That man received secret orders from the Houyan court to make an opening less his family perish.
When more Houyan soldiers arrive, Ha Muji bursts into laughter at his predicament.
I could see things in the future. Why didn’t I see this?
Knowing his fate, Ha Muji turns to his side and bows in the king’s direction.
Your Majesty! Please achieve your great plan.
Holding onto his wooden staff, the military advisor closes his eyes before feeling the cold sharp blade on his back. Slowly releasing his grip, the cane hits the ground. Barely hanging on, his body soon follows.
Moments later, Chongmyeong and the rest approach the area and find an ominous sign: a small wooden staff. Fearing the worst, he calls for his master. Yet, not looking much further, he discovers his body lying near the rocks with blood covering the lips.
Though the Goguryeo men run to his side, it’s all too late.
Receiving his last guests, Ha Muji struggles to convey his last wish:
I made a promise to His Majesty. He said he would let my grave be in my homeland of Liuju if I helped him achieve his great plan.
Tell him that I changed my mind. My home is where His Majesty is. Tell him I’d like to be buried in Goguryeo, so I can serve him after I die.
Tell him it was an honor for me to meet and serve him.
Unable to hold on any longer, his body falls back and enters the eternal rest. Sounds of sorrow fill up the surroundings thereafter.
Preparing the raid under a perfect full moon
Over at Longcheng, scouts report the weakening Goguryeo army. Desiring to take revenge on those that pushed them to this state, Murong Xi orders the military to prepare pouncing the injured prey, ignoring doubts by his generals.
On the opposing side, Hwang Hoe states the need to eliminate the enemy scouts nearby which Yeo Seokgae volunteers. Leading Cheongun, he plans to use a strategy learned from general Sagal Hyeon.
Then all of a sudden, Ari bursts inside and shocks the military camp.