The advance of the Yemaek army and the other troops was much smoother than expected.
It was because the Yeongwon fort, which was considered to be the toughest border to cross, was ready to surrender.
King Biryu had already been contacted by his spy, so he knew it, however, he kept the information a secret.
It wasn’t just Luke, but the soldiers of the Song Empire who surrendered in Yu-dong province and the men led by Jo Won-rak, were all made up of powerful warriors.
Just before entering into the Yeongwon fort, they were told the truth.
“Why didn’t you tell us in advance?”
Jo Won-rak opened his mouth with a voice of regret.
He wanted to lead the war to victory and was worried all the time that King Biryu would have a change of heart during their move.
Luke, who was next to him, intervened.
“Don’t be so disappointed, the King seems to have intended to raise the morale of the soldiers.”
“To raise morale?”
“Exactly. The rebels surely have the justification for advancement, but in reality, they are more agitated.”
The rebel’s army began to rise with the intention of overthrowing the Jo Won-gyun group, who had forsaken the morale of Kang Ho.
Most of the strong people in the military had responded to it, but the military officers and the nobles with families in the capital did not.
It was because Jo Won-gyun’s group, currently held the Emperor, and was acting as the regent, if they decided to betray the throne, Jo Won-gyun would declare the nobles as betrayers.
It was Song Empire’s law to destroy the entire family of those who rebelled against the Imperial family.
“And it isn’t like we won over the hearts of the regular soldiers. There will be many who joined the rebel army only to have a simple life.”
The most plausible reason for joining the rebel army was, they feared that they would be treated as slaves if they denied joining the rebels group, and were extremely scared of getting killed.
As soon as the Yeongwon fort gates opened, the heavy steps of the officers and soldiers turned light.
It was because the soldiers in the border slowly began to turn their backs on the Song Empire, and it seemed that the 3rd prince, Jo Won-rak, had the victory on his side.
Rebellion wasn’t treason.
Rebellion would be recorded as a revolution in history.
“We have a long way to go to Daeryang, and it will be difficult if we lose strength in the beginning.”
“I see. I wasn’t able to figure it out.”
After entering Yeongwon fort, King Biryu and Luke received hospitality from Lee Si-beak.
The soldiers rested for a day, and the next day they set off for the capital.
Even Lee Si-beak, and the military of the fort joined in.
And there didn’t seem to be any quarrels.
All the commanders and the castle lords who were encountered in the middle of the march were terrified and couldn’t run away.
Just the sight of Yemaek and Symphonia troops scared them, and seeing the Kangshi which were placed ahead, they didn’t have the heart to fight.
And the God’s army showcased the Kangshi they caught.
“These Kangshi were originally the people of Song Empire, good people, and they were created like this by Jo Won-gyun and Hwang Bo-kwang, who held hands with that Earner!”
“The men of Jo Won-gyun killed them miserably, and made them into their own war tools!”
“We aren’t using them as weapons. We are taking them back to their homes, just like the old times.”
“Do not block our path, we are moving to let them find peace! And punish people such as Jo Won-gyun!”
Honestly, the rebel forces only made the advance, they had no intention of using the Kanghsi for battle.
Just spreading the atrocities of Jo Won-gyun to all directions, while putting the Kangshi in the lead, and that led to a significant effect.
When the fights didn’t seem to happen, the soldiers of the rebels were initially delighted, however, they were beginning to get bored.
“Ah, no fun! Your Majesty, we might meet our end just marching like this.”
Shirley, who was riding the trailers along with Luke, opened her lips with a lazy expression.
“War doesn’t always mean blood and spears. With a single word, sometimes a castle collapses, and there are cases where the enemy can be taken down only after step after step.”
“But I still want to fight the strong. Uhm, should someone make a dispute?”
She had heard from Hwang Bo-sung, that there were many talented warriors in the Song Empire.
Among them, there were a lot of people who reached the level of Sword Master, so she was looking forward to the battles, but instead of battles, they were leaving!
Shirley’s boredom ended on the plains, which was around 100 miles ahead of the capital.
There were 100,000 troops in the way, but they weren’t like the Song Empire’s army who rolled their tails.
The scout who went to look returned back in a hurry.
“Your Majesty, there is a red dragon flag in the enemy camp!”
Biryu and Jo Won-rak, as well as Hwang Bo-sung were shocked at the word of Red Dragon flag.
Luke was the only one, who didn’t understand.
Hwang Bo-sung answered Luke’s question.
“Master, the Red Dragon flag is only used when the Red Dragon King, Lee Yong-mu participates. It is a symbol in the military.”
“Lee Yong-mu, the Red Dragon King? Then it must be the strongest warrior in the Song Empire…”
“Yes, he is deeply loyal to the Song Imperial Family and the Emperor. He is the only zenith in the Southern Continent when it comes to spears.”
Luke’s eyes twinkled at the sense of a strong opponent.
When he first came to the Southern Continent, he heard the story of Lee Yong-mu.
Luke himself considered himself to be the strongest in the North.
He always hoped that one day he would face him, but to think the day had come!
Unlike Luke, who was excited, the rebels seemed to sway.
“Why, why is General Lee Yong-mu on Jo Won-gyun’s side?”
“Isn’t it because His Majesty is in Jo Won-gyun’s side?”
“Either way, we have to fight the Red Dragon!”
“Oh, damn it. We will lose!”
“All the good times are done.”
It wasn’t just the rebels who were feeling low.
Even the Yemaek troops also seemed to tense up.
They all had heard the rumors about Lee Yong-mu.
And every warrior who fought against him was declared dead.
Only the Symphonia army didn’t seem agitated.
They didn’t know who Lee Yong-mu was, so they only looked ahead for the battle.
When the camp was uneasy, the commander in red armor and spear came ahead on a horse towards the enemy camp.
“I am Lee Yong-mu, the General of Eorim troops, and known as the Red Dragon King! People, listen carefully to me!”
Lee Yong-mu’s shout resounded all throughout the Yemaek troops, the rebels, and the Symphonia troops.
Making the voice sound impactful could be done by people who weren’t warriors.
However, Lee Yong-mu, seemed to be on a whole different level.
Despite being a kilometer away, his voice shook throughout the enemy camp.
“Kuek. He really is a monster, scary!”
Reynard, who closed his ears because of the loud voice, hardened at his sight.
His head seemed to throb the moment he saw him.
Among the common soldiers who heard Lee Yong-mu’s voice, there were those who kept falling down one after the other, and the knights and officers were blocking their ears.
“I don’t know what you intend to get by coming here, but if you try to move ahead, my spear will never forgive you!”
King Biryu, looked around at the voice of Lee Yong-mu and clicked his tongue by tightening the grip around his bow.
“Tch, we can’t just leave it alone.”
He knew that it was difficult if he let the morale of his army fall before the war even started.
As he was about to protest against Lee Yong-mu, Jo Won-rak, who was barely able to stand, stepped forward.
“King, please wait a moment! I will try to convince him.”
“… can he be convinced?”
Jo Won-rak replied to Biryu who seemed to be in doubt.
“Even if I can’t, isn’t it worth a try?”
Jo Won-rak wanted to avoid any meaningless collision.
If the fight started, the people who would be sacrificed were the Song Empire ones.
The majority of their allies, the enemy troops who hated the use of Kangshi, were all the people of the Song Empire.
And Luke too supported Jo Won-rak’s words.
“I don’t think that convincing him would do anything bad for us.”
“Uhm, then fine.
Biryu, with a strong grim look on his face, didn’t object anymore.
He lowered his bow, and Jo Won-rak approached Lee Yong-mu.
When Zegal Hui and the other escorts tried to follow him, Jo Won-rak shook his hand.
“Prince, it is dangerous!”
“It is alright. If we move together, it will only increase their doubts on us, it won’t be of any help…”
Despite Zegal Hui’s plea, Jo Won-rak went to Lee Yong-mu alone.
Lee Yong-mu, who wanted to see the man who was willing enough to meet him, recognized Jo Won-rak’s face and seemed to be flustered.
“3rd crown prince!?”
“Haha! It has been a while, General.”
Lee Yong-mu looked at the man and frowned.
“This is ridiculous. Zegal Hui, what is he doing without coming along with you?”
Protecting the Imperial family was the main duty of the Eorim troops.
And Lee Yong-mu, who was the general of Eorim troops, knew that Zegal Hui was someone he believed to do his duty.
No matter how divided the camp was, he couldn’t hold his anger as he didn’t see the prince’s escort right next to him.
“Huh, whether General Zegal Hui is by my side or not, if you, General, make up your mind, he won’t be able to save my life, right?”
That was true.
If Lee Yong-mu decided, even if 10 Zegal Hui escorted Jo Won-rak, there was no way to stop him.
“Did you come here knowing that? Don’t you know that there are people in the Imperial palace waiting for your neck to be delivered to them?”
“Of course, I know that. But if the General really meant to take my neck, you would have already done that.”
Before being a warrior with the title, Lee Yong-mu was someone who protected the Empire.
For the victory of the Empire, he had organized operations and ambushes a lot of time, and he was someone who could perform any number of assassinations.
With that in mind, if Lee Yong-mu decided to get rid of Jo Won-rak, he could have killed the man before even meeting up with him.
However, without even moving his spear, he stood there, as if he meant that he had no intention of killing Jo Won-rak.
Looking at Lee Yong-mu, Jo Won-rak said.
“General, I didn’t take that side because of some personal ambition. I had taken the inevitable decision as I wanted everything to go back to normal.”
“It could be an inevitable decision for the prince, but war is a state affair. Would you think that people would gently withdraw if they saw the prince winning by standing behind the Yemaek troops?”
It was a huge price.
Whether the land or treasures, they wanted it to be under the control of someone who belonged to the Song Empire.
The reason that Lee Yong-mu stood on the side of Jo Won-gyun and blocked the Yemaek troops was to prevent the loss of land to the Yemaek.
“Do you know that Jo Won-gyun and his men were making Kangshi, general?”
At Jo Won-rak’s question, Lee Yong-mu nodded.
“I know that, I already heard those rumors.”
“Then you must also know that he is using His Majesty as a scarecrow and is compromising the state affairs. And you still intend to take their side?”
“Do not judge my loyalty. After blocking the path of my enemies, I will later plan to catch those bandits who are trying to destroy the Empire from the inside.”
At Lee Yong-mu’s words, Jo Won-rak was puzzled.
“Th-then does the General mean that he would do it alone?”
“Do you believe that I can’t do that?”
Jo Won-rak felt like he could no longer convince Lee Yong-mu.
The man seemed to be overflowing with confidence.
“I understand what the General is saying. But I have no intention of stepping back.”
After that, Jo Won-rak tried to convince Lee Yong-mu for another few minutes, however, he turned his back with unfavorable results.
Seeing the prince walk back to his camp, Lee Yong-mu felt glad.
‘The 3rd prince is a typical civilian oriented person… there needs to be a person like that.’
The energy emanating from Lee Yong-mu made it difficult for the army to endure.
Yet, Jo Won-rak, who was as white as a paper, kept himself tall.
That wasn’t it.
He said everything he wanted to and went back.
Looking at that, Jo Won-rak seemed a lot more suitable person to sit on the throne when compared to Jo Won-gyun.
It made Lee Yong-mu think that the exile did something good.
‘We never know, he might grow a little more from this battle.’
Lee Yong-mu had a thin smile on his lips.
He wasn’t sure how the future would be, but the growth of Jo Won-rak, the prince he had loved, pleased his heart.