Watch 광개토대왕 ep 92 before reading. ‘Tis the end. ( TT) ‘Tis true. Why must nice things end? Can you believe it?
When positioning sets the stage for dictating your enemy’s tactic
The one person to ensure complete victory
There isn’t enough time. Goguryeo must surprise the Houyan-Beiwei army and remove all chances to resist further. If they can take over Liuju and come at them as quickly as possible, soldier morale will fall.
Just then, Ari arrives reporting the death of Ung Sim and her fellow Cheongun comrades. Not only that, the enemy has left 10,000 Beiwei soldiers to guard Liujucheng while the Beiwei Houyan allied forces come straight to the capital.
Not waiting for further instructions, commander Hwang Hoe and Ari set out on their mission.
Although, Goguryeo can win by defending Longcheng, king Gwanggaeto worries of
- the large Beiwei army.
- the reinforcements coming from all over the Houyan territory.
- Ko Un escaping. He must be captured for the war to truly end.
And so he orders a search for good ambush locations. Chongmyeong later returns with 3-4 spots that the special forces can use. It’s decided the king will personally lead one of the units.
Ko Un is meticulous. If we don’t trick him completely, we could suffer consequences.
Since Hwang Hoe won’t be in place until tomorrow, Damdeok rides out into the night leaving Mo Duyeong and Gal Samu to defend the capital.
Thread carefully when you are behind
In parallel, the Houyan leaders discuss their next move and admit that recovering their former fortress won’t be an easy task because Goguryeo defend fortresses well and Damdeok is great with war tactics; no one knows what strategy he will pick.
Yet, taking back the base is the only thing they can do. Realizing these issues, Murong Un
- moves his army non-stop.
- keeps an open communication channel with soldiers in Longcheng.
- sends scouts ahead to survey Goguryeo’s movement.
All the fun things occur when you’re not present
Having covered a large distance, the allied army sets up camp. But moments later, Marshi rides in in a hurry, panic drawn on his face as he breaks the news: Goguryeo has conquered Liujucheng.
Youzheng bursts out questioning the seemingly absurd statement.
What do you mean? How can the Goguryeo army be in Liuju again?
Murong Un gathers they must’ve used the same boats to get back there.
The worst part, the messenger adds, is the people in Liuju helped the enemy’s night attack by opening the gates. Nearly all of the Beiwei troops have been captured or killed.
Silence fills the group.
How can this be?, Murong Un yells in frustration surprised his “own” people are worsening the situation. Now, Houyan is bound to face attacks from the front and back once the Liuju army reaches up to them.
They have only one shot left to win.
Because Hwang Hoe easily took over their base, that can only mean he took a large army and, thus, weakened the capital defenses. If they can just seize Longcheng, they’ll change their fortunes.
At this, the whole army moves out right away with a faster pace.
Houyan’s desperate attack: The final bid to turn everything around
By next morning, the siege war is well underway.
The war drums sound off.
Houyan soldiers rush forward.
Fire balls crash onto the city walls. Explosions felt everywhere.
Arrows flying in both directions.
With no rest, wave after wave crash onto the city walls.
Meanwhile, Seol Ji alerts Damdeok of the relentless attacks but the king isn’t worried. He’s confident Mo Duyeong will keep the fortress intact. Besides, by tomorrow afternoon, the Goguryeo counterattack begins.
Where does mistreating the people lead you?
Later that night, Marshi leads a small scout unit via a secret passageway in order to rescue captured soldiers. However, it takes just a few steps before they encounter Goguryeo soldiers surrounding them.
How could they have detected their intrusion so easily?
Looking for a way out, Marshi notices two Houyan citizens and it all becomes clear. Goguryeo has won over the people once more and caused them to turn. How else could they know of this little known route.
Seeing they were done in with no chance to escape, the Houyan scouts throw in their weapons to the ground and submit to Noh Sa.
The full scale assault your adversary pushes you into
Back at the Houyan camp, the patience of the leaders wears thin and anxiousness strikes. The scouts haven’t returned.
Murong Un then orders the entire force to attack. No more holding back. Everybody must advance onto Longcheng.
Youzheng warns though that doing so will affect the men’s morale since they’ve been marching and attacking without rest.
But that doesn’t matter now. Murong Un senses their time is up. Desperation filling his voice, Murong Un repeats his command
If we don’t take Longcheng, we will be attacked. If that happens… Attack. There is no need for anyone to stay here. Make a full force attack!
At once, the Beiwei-Houyan army advance towards the capital. Ladders hit the fortress all over as soldiers attempt climbing the walls. Rams hit the gates. Smoke fills the area. With greater numbers, Houyan stresses the limits of the city.
The collapse of the Later Yan & Northern Wei campaign
From far, the allied leaders watch nervously hoping for the base to fall anytime soon. But despite all the pressure, the siege campaign doesn’t progress any further.
Suddenly, a voice from the back urgently calls for the Houyan emperor. It’s none other than Fengba running to join them. With fear in his voice, the general points back 1
It’s the Goguryeo army. They’re attacking us from behind.
Turning around and moving for a closer look, they see movement all over their command post.
Smoke and chaos everywhere.
It’s all been planned. Goguryeo waited until the whole army moved in and engaged the fortress before sneaking behind them, banking on their impatience. The allied force will soon enter the dangerous battle of fighting two fronts, of which certain defeat is assured.
Immediately, Murong Un calls for a retreat. As long as the leaders survive, the war won’t end in defeat for them.
Except there are two problems.
- By pulling back such a large army, they’ll lose their ability to control and reorganize them.
- There aren’t many places they can go. Forget about going to Beiwei, all paths will likely be traps.
Knowing Damdeok is really after the command unit and not the army, Murong Un decides heading towards a nearby mountain to become bait. This will distract Goguryeo and allow the rest of the Houyan-Beiwei army to escape.
I have no choice but to move according to Damdeok’s wishes. I’ll have to find a way to use that and capture him.
Ko Un vs Damdeok: Fighting your mortal enemy with your own hands
When in doubt, head for the attacker
Breaking off from the main army, the command unit runs in the forest before reaching a complete halt.
Goguryeo archers rise from the rocks up ahead pointing their bows at them. Let loose, the barrage of arrows strike soldiers dead.
But this isn’t the time to flee, the Houyan emperor commands. They must face the ambush unit head on. If they turn to run away, they’ll fall into a trap; a tactic Damdeok uses often.
The whole unit then charges up the slope taking in multiple air attacks. Regardless of the losses approaching the archers or the piercing arrow on Fengba’s chest, they don’t stop. Eventually, they clash against the ambush unit but it doesn’t take long before overwhelming them and capturing Yeo Seokgae.
Judging from the ambushes, Murong Un deduces where Damdeok is trying to lead him: a valley and Yongseongsan. Fortunately, Fengba knows a shortcut to catch the enemy unaware. The opportunity to go after the king of Goguryeo himself remains open.
Final confrontation: The pinnacle of Damdeok’s & Murong Un’s pain
In a hurry, the command unit stealthily marches and encroaches the Goguryeo camp before launching their surprise counterattack.
Knowing this is their last chance, the Houyan emperor leads the assault in a rage killing anyone within arms reach. Now in a mad craze, Murong Un looks around demanding to know where Damdeok is at but it only takes a few seconds for the answer to present itself.
Calmly approaching the camp is none other than the king with his entourage. To his right, Seol Ji and Yeo Seokgae escort the remaining enemy generals. The captured Fengba stares back with a confused look. A defeated man. For good measure, Yeo Seokgae slaps the general and brings everyone on their knees.
And for a moment, just a moment, the battleground turns silent.
You’re here, Damdeok greets his guest almost as though he was waiting.
Face to face with the source of his pain, Murong Un declares today all rancor will end with someone’s death. It’s the only way to settle their unfinished business.
The Goguryeo king, however, has no idea what he’s talking about,
You’re the only one with grudges.
The reply pushes Murong Un into a fury as he motions to attack. 2
You’re cajoling me to the end?
The nearby Goguryeo generals ready to defend their ruler but Damdeok stops them.
This is a personal fight.
When words can’t settle differences
Screaming and venting his rage, the Houyan emperor rushes at the Goguryeo king with sword in hand and the two opposing weapons meet. Try as hard as Un might, Damdeok is able to counter all his attacks and before long, begins pushing him around, first with a kick to the chest, followed by to the leg, and then a thrust with the hilt of the sword across his upper body.
And so the emperor finds momentum dragging him a few steps back.
Doesn’t he know you should only pick up a weapon to defend your reputation, family or country? Has his struggle been built on top of these, Damdeok asks.
Your father, Gae Yeonsu, fought me to achieve a country he dreamed of.
Not wanting to hear this, Murong Un orders him to drop it. Gwanggaeto continues though.
Your sister, Doyeong, gave her life to prevent war between Goguryeo and Baekje.
I said quiet!, Murong Un shouts unable to contain his anger any further. Now wanting him dead, the Houyan emperor charges once more swinging his blade trying to shut his nemesis. Yet, Un misses three times before the Goguryeo king strikes him on the chest with the elbow and scrapes his left leg.
As Un holds onto his wound, Gwanggaeto concludes his lecture
But you forgot all that. You just want revenge. That is why you will never be able to beat me.
This fight is not over, Un thinks. Instigated by those words, he yells and charges one more time.
A useless move.
Damdeok quickly knocks the blade away high into the air and kicks his former servant as he falls back on his knees. Looking up, the royal blade stares back at his face.
Asked if he has more anger to vent, Murong Un’s spirit sinks seeing how complete his defeat has been. Unable to do anything else, he last yells and weeps in frustration at his own failure.
Gwanggaeto, the great judge: Dealing with the fallout
Waiting for news, expecting execution
Afterwards, the Beiwei generals wait anxiously in the envoy quarters wondering why they aren’t in a prison.
All of a sudden, the voice of Hwang Hoe roars from outside the room announcing the king’s entrance. The generals quickly get in line and face the floor.
Did you take Goguryeo that lightly?, Damdeok inquires.
Youzheng rapidly denies the thought and offers the excuse that Beiwei simply feared his country getting too powerful. They only desired practical benefits by allying with Houyan.
Slamming his rod on the table to interrupt the gibberish, the king adds,
That’s no excuse for turning Goguryeo into an enemy. If he so wants, his 200,000 strong army can march straight to Beiwei right now.
Trembling at the thought, Youzheng and the rest immediately get on their knees asking for forgiveness.
Their fate won’t be decided at this time, however. They’ll need to wait until he gets back to them. The king must discuss it with his people first.
Coming back to the fold: Restoring the lost friendship
Meanwhile, the subdued Houyan ruler sits in a palace room contemplating his situation.
The entrance of Seol Ji and Ari interrupts his thoughts as they place a tray on the table.
(♡＾▽＾♡) 예쁜 *shakes head* uhm… that means… hard working. ^^;
The new set of clothes is for him to change into. Confused, Un asks why he isn’t tied.
Don’t you know how His Majesty feels? He was never disappointed with you. He suffered pain because he thought your pain was caused by him.
She herself has attempted to kill the king of Goguryeo many times before and even took part in prince Dammang’s death. Nevertheless, Damdeok has forgiven her a long time ago.
My case is different, Murong Un challenges.
Before bowing her head and taking her leave, Seol Ji pushes back,
It’s not different. If anything makes you different, you’re even closer to His Majesty. You were his closest friend. His Majesty doesn’t want to lose anymore friends. Don’t ignore that.
With a tear running down his face, Murong Un is unsure what to think.
You will become my person again
“Could this all be true?”, he wonders while walking over to the king’s office. Donned in new garments, the Houyan leader sits across his rival as he sincerely wants to know why he hasn’t passed onto the next world. There certainly must exist mutual disappointment.
Disappointed? How can there be no disappointment? I’m only human. You betrayed me several times and tried to kill me. It makes me furious to think about all the people who died because of that. But nothing can be settled with rage and disappointment.
The defeated emperor doesn’t want to hear more if his lil’ talk stems from a generous victor. There’s only one reason they’re in this position.
The heavens took your side. That’s all. The heavens weren’t fair.
That could be but there must be a fundamental reason for that choice, Damdeok counters. Something that decided who won and who lost. An explanation for why Ko Un can’t rule a country.
The reason I lost?, Un repeats as anger slowly fills his voice. Is it because Gwanggaeto is superior? too strong? smarter? Had a better war strategy? What?
The Goguryeo leader elaborates,
A king has to dream the dreams of the people. Do you have such a dream that you are willing to give your life to achieve?
I lost my father, mother, brother, sister and many generals, but I couldn’t give up because of my people. Do you have such people?
I wanted to achieve the dream of my people from the start. In that process, I lost a friend like you, but I gave hope to my people. If I had to do it all over again, I will do exactly the same thing. Is my answer not good enough?
The response takes Un by surprise. In deep thought, he searches for an argument. An excuse. However, he only comes to realize the error of his ways.
I won’t ask for forgiveness. I won’t beg for my life. I just have one thing to ask. I couldn’t stop even when I knew it wasn’t the right path. Don’t trouble yourself anymore because of me.
But even here, Un can’t have his way.
Damdeok then offers the Houyan crown for Un to accept. But this time to govern in a proper way. His final assignment.
Your Majesty, Ko Un utters in shock. Overwhelmed by the generosity, he slowly stands up and kneels before the king, accepting the mission, Damdeok’s last wish.
Getting up from his seat, the king walks to his servant and picks him up, overjoyed he has finally regained his old friend back.
The return of the emperor
Soon after Ko Un’s coronation in Longcheng 3, the Goguryeo force return home having conquered Houyan 4 in 407. The repetition of “Manse” overflows the crowd as they welcome their hero; a people proud of subjugating the surrounding countries. Speaking for the people, the tavern lady expresses her congratulations
The people praised you highly every time there was a victory.
Damdeok laughs it off in a cool manner but Yeo Seokgae insists he’s not an ordinary ruler. As king of kings, he deserves the title of taewang.
Although hesitant at first, the people push for it and Damdeok gives in. Soon, the crowd begins chanting “Hurray for His Majesty taewang!” as King Gwanggaeto takes his leave.
THE END? No, not really.
One of the highlights of the episode. Fengba was so cute when announcing Goguryeo’s attack. ‘Tis so different from his serious voice, almost like his throat was trembling. Maybe that’s why suti liked it, ^^
If pay attention, you hear him say “Chogi”, which is how you say “there” in Korean. Just remember this scene and you’ll memorize the Korean word. Sutiben learn so much from this drama. ↩︎
Sutiben LOVED their talk! The second highlight of the episode! Even though Damdeok didn’t mean it, his response ‘twas funny. Perfect for a duel that all started from a misunderstanding. ↩︎
hehe Did you notice how Fengba looked to the floor after Ko Un received the crown? Looks like he’s doesn’t approve. ↩︎
Oh, sutiben not know Longcheng and Liuju are located in what’s known as Beijing today. Did you? ↩︎