Dak! Dak! Da!
Inside the halls of the Yu-dong castle.
Luke and King Biryu, who should have been busy preparing for the attack on the Song Empire, were playing ‘Go’.
Go was a game that used black and white stones between two players.
It seemed to be a lot simpler than chess, however, in reality, it was much more difficult to play.
The strategies were endless, and it was as fun as it seemed complicated.
Accordingly, Luke was showing as much interest in Go as in the techniques of Apostasy.
On some days, he would play the Go the entire day, and King Biryu would give him some tips.
“King Luke, it is good to enjoy, and don’t lose yourself too much into this. Even though the army of Song was defeated, the nation took huge damage and the King will be disgraced as he couldn’t get himself to leave from the game board.”
“I know… there is nothing good in worrying too much about anything.”
Whether it was magic, science, or even faith.
Anything which would lead a person to madness and obsession would turn the man distorted.
Said King Biryu while laying down a stone of Go.
“It seemed like our plan worked out well.”
It wasn’t possible for the Yemaek to leave and advance to Daeryang without holding back Kitai and Yamatai.
And the moment they would move without looking after the Kitai and Yamatai, they would strike them from behind.
Which was why Luke decided to take advantage of the fear of the people in the Southern continent regarding Kangshi.
They were all made to wear the military uniforms of the Song Empire which were collected from the prisoners, and the coffins were asked to be left in the borders of both nations.
Of course, they didn’t actually release the Kangshi.
Honestly, it was just to stimulate fear.
It would be difficult to subtly handle the Kangshi with the few skills he learned from interrogating the apostasy skills users.
However, if they were just left into the enemy state, they would have been defeated right away, which was why the coffins were the only ones left there.
“How much will this false attack work…?”
“I think that it will hold the ankles of them, enough till we clear things up. Hasn’t the maintenance of the soldiers been done already?”
At Luke’s question, King Biryu nodded.
The Black Demon unit and the expeditionary forces of Symphonia Kingdom were already done with their maintenance, and the Golden warriors which remained in the Phoenix castle also reached the Yu-dong castle.
Not just that, but the enemy troops too were composed of the men who converted their loyalty in the Yu-dong castle.
Led by Zegal Hui and Jo Won-rak, the converted men were willing to stand at the forefront with the God’s army and pave the way to the Daeryang capital.
“The problem is the Emperor in the capital. Even if we want to rescue him, I can’t figure out where he…”
Luke was trying to collect relevant information through the spies in the Zegal family, who were trying to infiltrate the capital.
According to the reports, Jo Won-gyun placed the Emperor in some other place.
There were rumors that the place was confined and separate from the palace, and near an island, but there were also words that the Emperor hid in the temple and uglier reports that the Emperor had already been killed and buried.
“The information from the Kang Ho clans is accurate, but even they seem to have trouble grasping the situation inside the Imperial Palace.”
At Biryu’s words, Luke shrugged.
“Well, for now, we have no choice but to enter the capital.”
“If we go, the answer will come out, whether they have taken him as a hostage, refugee, or the Emperor was killed.”
Luke and Biryu decided to advance towards Daeryang.
It would be nothing more than giving time to Jo Won-gyun, if they wanted to wait a little more for accurate information.
Yeongwon fort was a massive military city of the Song Empire located near the border of Yemaek.
Like Yu-dong castle, it was in charge of seeing the other towns, forts, and castles.
However, the atmosphere in the place was a mess.
It was because 6000 troops rushed to conquer Yemaek, and after a while, the defeated soldiers flocked back to the fort.
“The Black Demon is coming!”
“The Northern steel giants are also coming. Nothing can stop them!”
The talks of the defeated soldiers were enough to make the people in the fort turn nervous and anxious.
However, there was another set of rumors which made the soldiers and officials of Yeongwon fort bewildered.
“What was that? Our emperor used the Kangshi?”
Yeongwon’s fort commander, Lee Si-beak jumped up at the report of his subordinates.
“According to the defeated soldiers, there was an evil Apostasy who created the Kangshi in mass and controlled them.”
“Huh?! No matter how much they justify it regarding the need to conquer Yemaek, how can they do that? This doesn’t even compare to being crazy!”
“It seems like Your Majesty and the 1st crown prince have a huge difference between them.”
The fact that the emperor’s son was using Kangshi to carry out the tasks was something that the local lords and officials weren’t informed.
Well, they didn’t even matter to let the monsters in the palace know about their plans.
That was because Jo Won-gyun wanted it to be kept a secret.
In order to prevent the rumors from spreading around, Lee Si-beak gathered everyone who talked about the Kangshi.
Regardless of whether it was true or false, it was a matter which influenced the royal family.
Above all, it would turn difficult to hold the fort if the public sentiment turned bad.
The public sentiment had already deteriorated due to the release of the conscription for the war, and if it was known that such a taboo had been touched and their ruler was going against the morals of the land, building the trust in the people would turn impossible.
However, in less than a day, he met with the opposition.
“Commander, will you just keep on covering up the rumors?”
“Then do you want the people to know about it and start a riot or rebellion?”
Lee Si-beak shot back at the official who asked him.
“But that doesn’t mean that you get to catch men or kill all the witnesses. Someday, it will be known, and that day you won’t be praised by the people. Rather, let’s do this, revolt against Jo Won-gyun’s group!”
From the standpoint of the scholar Yoo-saeng, making Kangshi was an act that would enrage anyone.
And Jo Won-gyun and his men, who resorted to such tactics wouldn’t be followed any longer.
“Eh! You think that it will be so easy?!”
If he could, the commander would have done it long back.
However, his son was in the capital.
He was placed in the Imperial Palace, if word went out about the Commander’s change in position, his son would be executed.
Moreover, no matter how much they planned, Jo Won-gyun was already taking steps to replace the Emperor, and there were still thousands of troops under his command.
It wasn’t just that, Jo Won-gyun was a man who didn’t even hesitate to create the Kangshi and use them in war.
How could regular commanders go against the man who was siding with witchcraft and apostasy?
Yoo-saeng spoke with a subtle voice towards Lee Si-beak, who was frowning.
“If there was a good way to get rid of Jo Won-gyun, would you follow it?”
“A good way?”
“That is right. It is to support prince Jo Won-rak who is against Jo Won-gyun.”
“Jo- Jo Won-rak!”
Lee Si-beak was shocked.
Prince Jo Won-rak was currently hiding in Yemaek.
To follow the man was the same as surrendering to Yemaek.
If he decided to do it, the commander would be blamed for the betrayal of opening the border for the enemy.
As if his worries were noticed, Yoo-saeng tried to pursue the commander more strongly.
“I am not asking you to open the way to Yemaek. Only to open the path for Prince Jo Won-rak.”
“And honestly, didn’t the Emperor always prefer the bright and wise Prince Jo Won-rak over the greedy and fierce Jo Won-gyun?”
“That is true.”
It was a fact that any official in the Song Empire would know, the Emperor had always preferred Jo Won-rak over Jo Won-gyun.
Had he not been exiled after wrongly accusing him, he would have been the one in line instead of the greedy ones and the addict.
“As long as we can protect prince Jo Won-rak and save His majesty from the evil and wicked ones, we will become contributors for good. That would mean that our loyalty to the royal family will remain forever in history!”
After the constant persuasion of Yoo-saeng, Lee Si-beak managed to make a decision.
“Fine. As you said, we will uphold the 3rd prince.”
“Hahaha. You thought well.”
In the meantime, Lee Si-beak decided to surrender by persuading their nearby commanders of the other forts.
It was because the increase of people who believed in the same decision would make them feel reassured about the decision they had taken.
Calling his men, he immediately sent messengers to the nearby forts.
DaDak! Da Da!
Yoo-saeng flew over the eastern sky after coming out of the Yeongwon fort.
In his hand was a paper with a list of lords and commanders who agreed.
In fact, Yoo-saeng was a spy of the Yemaek who had been in the Song Empire for a long time.
He was always collecting and sending information from the Yeongwon fort, however, he suddenly received an order from King Biryu to take over the fort.
And because of the situations which were rising, Lee Si-beak had accepted his proposal much more quickly than expected.
‘Huhuhu. This will make the opening of the border much easier.’
After completing his mission, he smiled widely, recalling the reward he would receive from King Biryu.