Song Empire’s capital, Daeryang.
A huge city with a population of 1 million, it was a city that had already flourished for a hundred years in military, political, and economic phases.
As a result, the city was full of color and it wasn’t just a few people who would drink and dance because of the luxury around them.
Among them, in particular, was the western street, or the Red Light district, which was called as such because it was a place in which the lights would never go off.
And two people were meeting in a closed room in that street.
They were Zegal Shin, who was in charge of the Anti-Hwang Bo Alliance Front on behalf of Zegal Soha, who had to follow Luke and Hwang Bo-sung, and the one famous for being a fool in the Hwang Bo clan, Hwang Bo-yun.
“Have you found out His Majesty’s location?”
Hwang Bo-yun, shook his head at the question from Zegal Shin.
“I went through the entire Imperial palace, but I couldn’t find him anywhere.”
In order to prevent the nasty Hwang Bo-kwang, Hwang Bo-yun secretly joined forces.
There was a group of men who were concerned about the future of the clan, they were those who opposed Hwang Bo-kwang.
However, they alone couldn’t stop Hwang Bo-kwang, who attained great status in the palace.
So, they were all about slowing him down or hindering the steps of those who took over the Imperial family and the Kang Ho clans.
And one day.
Hwang Bo-yun reached out to a spy of Cheong Ung-bang in the Daeryang.
He found a samurai of Cheong Ung-bang, who he had met during the clan meeting moving around the palace.
During the very same time, the 3rd crown prince and Zegal Hui were exiled.
It wasn’t known that the Zegal clan family had planted a spy in the capital and were still going on with the alliance.
“Tch, then, as the rumors mentioned, is he being confined elsewhere outside the Imperial palace?”
“Maybe a separate palace or a temple near the capital, but we have no clear answer on which one.”
After Jo Won-gyun had become the regent, the whereabouts of the Emperor was totally concealed.
In the palace, there was no maid or guard, nor even the officials who had directly seen the face of the Emperor after he fell sick.
It was said that the Emperor was sick, and he couldn’t move, so the Emperor was avoiding to go outside and meet with the officials, but even that statement called for a lot of suspicion.
Even if the Emperor was sick, and suffering from a contagious disease, it was absolute for a high priest or a legal advisor to be close to the Emperor as long as he was being treated.
However, the entrance of the Imperial Palace and the Emperor’s residence were being strictly controlled, and the access for the outsiders was being blocked.
As a result, Hwang Bo-yun’s personal infiltration was a failure, the Emperor was not in the palace or his residence.
“It can’t be that His Majesty has already been taken down…”
“That can’t be. He wouldn’t take such an irrational step.”
The men of Jo Won-gyun were already issuing various orders in the name of the Emperor.
The reason why Jo Won-gyun hadn’t been able to rise to power quickly was because of the loyal men of the Emperor who strongly opposed Jo Won-gyun.
And the one representing it was lee Yong-mu, the Red Dragon King, who resigned from the post of the Commander of Eorim army by his own decision.
His influence in the palace was no less than Jo Won-gyun.
He was a strong adherent and a famous person in the Song Empire, and he wasn’t just admired in the military but also in the Moorim clans too.
“If they do that, they would immediately create enemies. And they will surely keep His Majesty alive, at least until they get rid of the entire opposition.”
“In addition, from what I have found out, my brother is working with people who are supposed to be the wizards of the Northern continent. For all we know, the unclear disease His majesty is suffering from could be because of his plan.”
The very people who had condemned Jo Won-rak for holding hands with the goblins of the north were using the northern powers.
With worry on his face, he asked.
“The invasion of Yemaek is right around the corner. If we don’t secure His Majesty’s safety right away, we will be in huge trouble.”
Depending on whether the Emperor could be saved or not, the war would end quickly, or it could last for a long time.
The innocent people would suffer from damage caused by the delay.
Which was why the Zegal family was trying to rescue the Emperor, however, they weren’t sure about the location.
“Let’s try our best. But apart from that, there was a massive uproar happening around.”
Zegal Shin asked with a confused expression.
As he placed all the power to rescue the Emperor, all the information around the palace was in dark.
“Recently, there are more and more people who have died in the Kang Ho and the slums, and their bodies were being handled by the Eorim army and the Hwang Bo clan. Even the sick ones.”
At the words of Hwang Bo-yun, Zegal Shin tilted his head.
It wasn’t uncommon for people to freak out when someone died in a slum, and the remedies were always done by those in Imperial offices.
It was to prevent the public sentiment from turning worst and to show that the Imperial palace cared for every life.
“I don’t think that it is a huge problem, why would you think that?”
“It was because there was a rumor that a body killed by a monster has turned into Kangshi.”
At the words of Hwang Bo-yun, Zegal Shin jumped up.
“What! Was that verified?!”
“I have checked in the slums. Moreover, sick patients were said to be bitten by the Kangshi and that it turned contagious.”
The most suspicious thing was that this disaster started a few days back when the liquor and food brought from the Imperial palace was given to the slums.
It was said that it was food being given to the people because of their constant prayers for the well being of their Emperor.
“Well, according to Soha’s message with the 3rd crown prince, it was said that the Song Empire ordered Earner to mobilize the Kangshi for war…”
“We were made aware of that too. Even then, it scares the hell out of us.”
At Hwang Bo-yun’s words, Zegal Shin recalled what he heard from Saint Nanda.
“Go to Daeryang and get rid of the darkness which digs into the humans. Only then will the Imperial family, this nation, and your family can enjoy peace.”
Hearing that, Shin left for the capital right away.
What if the darkness which was in humans was the disease that Hwang Bo-yun just said?
If so, then he couldn’t take the matter any lightly.
“We need to gather as much information as we can before we take actions.”
“Yes, like the old saying, it is always best to take a step back when in dire situations.”
The two separated after having serious conversations.
Hwang Bo-yun, who saw off the man, headed for the meeting room of the shadow organization.
Having a mother come from Haomun (Shadow Organization), he also climbed his way to the top and was secretly running a martial arts room in a gambling house.
However, when he arrived at the room, he heard unexpected news.
“Sir, we got a call from the Imperial Palace.”
“Did they find where His Majesty is?”
“No, that isn’t it. Instead, it was said that they are going to send Jo Won-ki to the temple on the Cheon yeong mountains tomorrow and confine him.”
Hwang Bo-yun was confused.
There have already been rumors that Jo Won-ki was confined.
However, they didn’t think that he would be sent over to the Cheon Yeong Mountain.
The Cheon Yeong Mountain was a place that was very close to the Hwang Bo clan, and the temple on the mountain wasn’t large enough for an imperial family member to live in.
‘I can’t understand this. No matter how much of an addict Jo Won-ki is, he at least needs to be treated as an imperial family…’
Hwang Bo-yun was thinking and suddenly asked his men.
“Bring me a map. The area around the mountain and the details of the region!”
After a while, he looked at the map.
“Well, the Hwang Bo clan and the Hung wang temple.”
The reason why the names were different from the clan was because it was built during the time when a civil war had occurred in the Song Empire.
It was war with Jo Myong-do who had lost the battle against Jo Yoo-moon and fled to the temple which was in the mountain, and the temple was the Hung wang temple.
King Jo, who gained strength while staying in the temple, went against the one on the throne and won the battle with the help of a fairy.
And the Emperor got called as Jinjong, and he joined with the Empress, and the temple was called Hung wang temple as the King rose to power in that place.
‘Hung wang is more like a fortress. The walls made during the civil war are still strong. Besides, there is only one road to the access, and all surrounded by the rocky mountains.’
That wasn’t the end of the problem.
There were around several villages where hermits lived, and they were all built and managed by the Hwang Bo clan.
And the place was used for military uses.
‘It is hard to get in, and once we get locked in, it is hard to get out. Is there any reason for him to be this wary against Jo Won-ki that they feel the need to confine him in such a ruined place? If he goes, it will be a huge failure!’
A strategic retreat where the leader would leave the province and flee to another place.
Jo Won-gyun’s men seemed to be trying to secretly send the Emperor to the temple under the disguise of sending Jo Won-ki to exile.
Apparently, they thought that it would be a much safer base than the capital.
“Was it tomorrow? We need to hurry up, call them in!”
Hwang Bo-yun, who needed to meet with Zegal Shin again, immediately left in a hurry.