Before reading the spoiler, watch 广开土太王 ep 90. A country decides to get aggressive and create a wedge among the ranks of the enemy.
Keep everything still to trap the fish
Don’t allow the fish back out of the net
Learning of Ha Muji’s death, king Gwanggaeto hits the table. Repeating his name, Damdeok can’t come to grips with this untimely death. How could this happen?
He could see what the heavens were planning. There is no way he is dead… Ha Muji couldn’t die in such a futile manner. He wouldn’t die like that.
Even after Ari confirms the facts, king Gwanggaeto plans to check it out himself. Immediately, the generals plead the Goguryeo king to stay put. They are currently eliminating the scouts in the area 1 and are close to entrapping the Houyan army. If the king heads outside, Houyan will chase after him instead. Calming down, Damdeok holds back his grief and gives up on his idea.
No better than talking to a wall
Over at the Emperor’s office in Longcheng, Jubu rushes in and gleefully announces killing Goguryeo’s strategist. Finally, things are changing. Murong Xi, however, forbids anyone relaying the news to Murong Un explaining,
I don’t want him to get arrogant yet. I’ll tell him myself at the right time.
(｡_∀_｡) Think Xi still remembers the way Ko Un talked to him last time hehe
As the Houyan emperor orders everyone to battle, Murong Un enters warning the dangers of attacking. It could all be a ploy. But Murong Xi brushes his words
None of your plans succeeded. You think you are always right. That’s how we ended up here. The scouts checked everything. Do you think Houyan soldiers are all blind?
No, the plan isn’t changing. Frustrated, Murong Un decides making the best of the situation.
The heavens provide ample opportunities… though they may not be for you
Moving out from the South gate, the Houyan force rapidly march to Goguryeo’s camp, yet something is off: Not a soul in the immediate area.
At once, arrows jump out taking down Houyan soldiers.
Goguryeo troops soon flow into the camp attacking everyone on sight and the Houyan soldiers find themselves fighting for their lives. Watching his men being slaughtered, Murong Xi can only hold back his rage at falling for another trap. Surrounded, retreat isn’t possible anymore and the Houyan emperor decides making his last stand here.
Suddenly, voices are heard in the back as Murong Un leads a unit of reinforcements. Breaking through from the outside, he opens an escape route as Fengba cries out in relief. Believing this was his end, Xi stares in shock.
Although, few in numbers and on the run, Damdeok stops his army from pursuing a desperate enemy doing whatever it takes to survive in order to avoid huge losses. They instead opt to return to Sujuncheng.
During all this, Yeo Seokgae and company attempt conquering Longcheng hoping to take advantage of a distracted ruler. However, the many ambushes impede their progress, bringing Goguryeo’s plan to a halt. Before leaving to help, Murong Un had increased the defenses of the capital.
Drive a wedge between your enemies
Building on Ha Muji’s last plan
Returning to Longcheng in defeat, Murong Xi recognizes two things
- Houyan’s existence: Everything has changed. The war against Goguryeo is no longer about winning but surviving.
- Murong Un the hero: The Houyan emperor acknowledges Murong Un efforts. Achieving great merit in killing Ha Muji and saving his skin earlier.
With no strategist backing the enemy, the Goguryeo army will be in disarray and at its weakest. The emperor urges the generals to come up with a plan and take advantage of this before it’s too late.
Retreating to his office after the meeting, Murong Un then hears troubling news: Damdeok is leaving the battleground with a large army, going around the capital and heading to Liuju. By going there himself, Gwanggaeto plans to solidify his control of the region and turn Liuju into Goguryeo territory. Unable to divide the army to confront two fronts, Houyan now needs helps. Their ally comes to mind immediately.
The wolf’s audacious request to save you from a tiger
But as Murong Un and Fengba visit the emperor’s office, they discover Murong Xi rebuking Youzheng for asking ownership of Liuju if they defeat Goguryeo. Murong Xi won’t hear more of this talk.
Do you think we’re fools because we are in a difficult situation?
- Houyan has already given up Tongwancheong & the surrounding area to them.
- Beiwei’s reinforcements in the capital thus far constitutes no more than 50,000 soldiers.
- Asking for Liuju is a lot given the region is critical to Houyan. Military forces, transportation & commercial rights are concentrated there.
- Beiwei is using Houyan for their own safety. It’s not like they’re helping from the bottom of their hearts.
Berated and upset, Youzheng leaves the room at Murong Un’s request. Now alone, the ruler reinforces his stance that Houyan must defeat Goguryeo without their ally’s help, starting with taking back Sujuncheng while Damdeok is away.
Could we have a future without Liuju? We can’t rely on Beiwei anymore. At this rate, Beiwei is going to be more of a pain than Goguryeo.
Privately, Murong Un disagrees,
We have to think about our greater gain even in this situation. To that point, he visits the envoy quarters and tries calming Youzheng. Both nations are in the same situation and need to drive Goguryeo away. The issue, Youzheng explains, is now that Damdeok is nearby, Beiwei fears an attack and the Beiwei court wants to pull all armies back home. The Beiwei envoy needs to bring something to the table to convince them to do otherwise. Murong Un assures him they will change the king’s mind.
Causing doubts by doing nothing
Back at Liujucheng, the Goguryeo leaders discuss their next steps. Following Ha Muji’s plan, they have wiped the first wave of Beiwei soldiers trying to come through. However, Damdeok doesn’t want to waste his soldiers on anything but Longcheng.
Houyan is really sensitive right now. They are nervous that Beiwei will betray them. If we use that, we should be able to shake them up.
Ari, then arrives reporting a large Beiwei army marching here, most likely to test the Goguryeo military lacking a strategist.
Going outside to meet the invasion force at night, they spot the main Beiwei unit with Youzheng’s brother, Youji, at the helm.
Everything ready, Damdeok fires his bow and hits the commander on the helmet, knocking him to the ground.
A warning shot.
Stepping from the shadows, the king makes his presence known and threatens that his ambush units are ready to strike. Nonetheless, if the invading army leaves, the Goguryeo king won’t attack. Liuju belongs to Goguryeo now. Given the marital alliance, he has no wish to be enemies.
Ordering a turn around, Youji and his troops retreat not wanting to challenge Goguryeo further. Of course, this all feeds into Damdeok’s plan.
A servant’s last tool in the box
Next day, the Houyan court learns the Goguryeo and Beiwei army left each other alone without imparting a single scratch. Suspicions arise of Beiwei joining hands with the enemy. Convinced of betrayal, Murong Xi orders Youzheng’s immediate arrest believing his refusal to hand Liuju over as the catalyst.
Murong Un and Fengba, however, are sure it’s all a misunderstanding. Houyan needs Beiwei to cut off Goguryeo’s line of supply but Murong Xi will not reconsider his judgment. The alliance is officially over.
Privately, the Houyan generals discuss the crisis, worried of the negative consequences of Xi’s order. According to the imprisoned foreign envoy, the Beiwei army could’ve feared Goguryeo’s might and fled to avoid battle.
Yet, word soon reaches the group that Murong Xi is disarming all the Beiwei soldiers and killing anyone who resists. At this, Murong Un panics and falls into disillusionment.
What? We can’t turn back now. There is no way to convince him without clear proof. This is the end for Houyan.
Calmly, general Fengba calls him out.
Murong Un. Don’t be so weak. What is your dream? It is to create a powerful nation and take revenge against Goguryeo. You want to give up now? You want to end your life being shot at by Goguryeo soldiers? …
If His Majesty is wrong, we have to set things straight.
There is only one option left.
When Yeo Seokgae referred to Sagal’s tactic in removing enemy scouts, sutiben wasn’t sure what he was referring to. But seeing Goguryeo soldiers pretending to sleep, sutiben remembered. ‘Twas so long ago! ↩︎