It was still early in the morning, yet the capital was already overturned.
It was because a series of mass murders in the slums and other places of residence were recorded.
Murders were a frequent occurrence in large populations, but the problem was the rumors that accompanied them.
“Really? Hwang Bo-kwang has poisoned the capital?”
“Yes, in the neighborhood in the next street, two of the heads, who were kept as guards at night, died. It was also said that a poison that turns people into Kangshi was created. You should never drink that water from the well!”
“Ah, don’t joke about it. Where is such a poison?”
“That is because you don’t know. Didn’t you know that a Kangshi appeared in the slums last night? It was rumored that it was because of some disease, but in fact, it was because of Jo Won-gyun!”
At first, people weren’t believing the rumors, which were being spread by the men of Haomun at dawn.
However, the situation changed as people, who drank the water from the well, suddenly lost their lives and died.
Moreover, the controversy exploded when the body of the dead suddenly turned into Kangshi.
“You mean that poison is really Kangshi?”
“No mistake about it! Do you know Jang, the neighbor next door? The old lady in the family died after she drank water from the well, but then she got up and bit her daughter-in-law and killed her.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“But it is true. I saw it with my own eyes! If it weren’t for the warriors who were passing by, something huge would have happened.”
The words erupted everywhere.
In addition, shortly after, monsters, who were supposed to be Kangshi, appeared on the streets and killed everyone in sight.
While it was all happening, the Imperial Palace and ministers in the palace were rubbing their hands.
The situation didn’t worsen as they thought, the warriors of Haomun and the Zegal family were all stepping in to deal with the Kangshi.
They weren’t just dealing with the Kangshi, but they also told people how to deal with it with weapons and Zen.
“Everyone, never ever drink that water!”
“If you need water, get rainwater and drink it. Otherwise, make sure to boil the water before drinking it!”
“A body killed by Kangshi or bitten by it needs to be cremated!”
Hwang Bo-yun and Zegal Shin found that the boiled water was fine to drink after they experimented on it while feeding it to dogs and hens.
However, the poor were still exposed to dangers.
It was because the prices of clean water and firewood had skyrocketed since countermeasures for Kangshi poison were known.
The worst-case situations were prevented by using Haomun, but the rage of the poor couldn’t be stopped.
“Those crazy bastards! Why poison such good wells?!”
“Even the Red Dragon King has turned toward Jo Won-rak, so maybe the regent’s eyes went blind. He needs to hand over the power, isn’t it?”
“Does that make any sense for him to kill his own people?!”
“Have you heard the rumors yet? These men used the Kangshi as weapons during the conquest of Yemaek. They were all people like us.”
In an instant, public sentiment shifted.
However, it wasn’t just the public sentiment that turned so ugly.
A restaurant in the barracks of the Central Army located in the capital.
“What is even happening?! It is time to serve. Why are you being so sloppy?”
The military officer, who was there to eat, was yelling at the chef that was nervous.
“Well, this was supposed to happen. No one want’s to eat anything since morning.”
“What? Are you saying that these men reject the food that the emperor has given us?!”
“There were rumors that something strange was being spread in the water, so everyone is feeling hesitant.”
Even inside the barracks, the words were flowing.
Even the generals of the units were listening to what was going on outside.
In addition, Haomun deliberately spread the information to the soldiers.
“Is that an excuse? It is all okay if the water is boiled!”
‘Damn it. What am supposed to do if they don’t want to eat?’
The officer frowned at the chef.
Rumors were circulating all around the barracks.
“The prince said that he was going to make all the central army into Kangshi!”
It was an unpredictable rumor.
However, rumors that Hwang Bo-kwang’s group creating the Kangshi and using them for war was spreading, and in the current war where Lee Yong-mu turned toward Jo Won-rak, people couldn’t help but doubt.
If an ordinary person was made into Kangshi, they would’ve had the same fighting power as Kang Ho clans.
If the soldiers of the Central Army were all turned into Kangshi, the troops would be a lot stronger.
“Convene the entire army right now! Those who don’t eat will be punished according to military command!”
Thus, the soldiers of the Central Army were forced to eat.
Of course, they didn’t like it, and their angry hearts quickly turned into resentment toward Hwang Bo-kwang’s group.
“Damn it. If I turn into Kangshi, the first one I will bite would be Hwang Bo-kwang and his henchmen!”
“Don’t speak nonsense! If we turn into Kangshi, we will move according to their orders.”
“Yes, if they ask us to kill ourselves, we will do it.”
By the time an ugly story was circulating among the soldiers, the military command fell.
At first, they thought that it would be about stopping the enemy from advancing to Daeryang.
However, the Central Army wasn’t asked to move to the border of the capital but to a large city.
“What the hell is this?”
“There was a riot in the slums.”
“Yes, the people started attacking the offices and the Imperial Palace.”
The reason they moved was because of the order of Hwang Bo-kwang.
When Eorim troops first appeared, the people thought that they were sent to solve the Kangshi situation.
However, Eorim troops left out the Kangshi into the slums and caught the people who were spreading the rumors, and they even arrested the men who fought against them.
Even if they refused to comply with the arrest, they were punished on the spot.
Of course, the enraged public sentiment was bound to explode.
“Let’s catch and kill the demons who are trying to kill the people in Daeryang!”
“Let’s get Jo Won-gyun and Hwang Bo-kwang, hit their necks!”
At first, the offices near the slums were attacked and burnt.
However, when the general public who had lost their relatives to the Kangshi joined the riots, all the offices in the capital and the residences of the high ranking officials were all attacked.
And those people, who saw blood in their path, couldn’t be stopped at all.
Hwang Bo-yun and Zegal Shin only fuelled those flames.
“The rebel army of prince Jo Won-rak has come close!”
“The reason why His Majesty fell ill was because of Jo Won-gyun poisoning him!”
“It was said that the rebels have rescued the emperor from Jo Won-gyun!”
“The reason why Lee Yong-my has sided with the rebel army was because he was ordered by the emperor himself!”
“The real traitors are in the Imperial Palace!”
As the situation turned very serious, the Central Army came out after the Eorim troops.
Even the soldiers of the Hwang Bo clan began to suppress the people.
But the mess didn’t die so easily.
It was because more than half of the population in the capital were participating in the riots, and at the forefront of them were the warriors of Haomun and Zegal clan, empowering their voices.
Not just them, all the clans, who had been watching the situation of the capital, rose up and stood ahead with swords and bows in their hands.
Many people were aware that Hwang Bo-kwang was the one who drove them to a corner.
No one wanted their clan to be sacrificed.
With a shout from far away, Jo Won-gyun clenched his fist firmly.
The officials of the capital were all immersed in heavy silence.
Not all the officials were safe in the palace.
Some managed to flee quickly while others, who were caught by the rebels, were being kept in another place.
Except for the officials who were brainwashed, those who remained back in the palace were all turning nervous.
The situation wasn’t that great.
If the massive riots were still raging, and Jo Won-rak’s army entered the capital and strikes them, everything would be over.
‘Would I live if I ran away?’
‘I’d rather let Jo Won-gyun or Hwang Bo-kwang take the blame…’
‘Damn it, nothing more can be done in here!’
While a few officials were thinking, Hwang Bo-kwang entered the throne room.
As if to show that they were in a bad situation, he wore an armor and not some fancy silk cloth.
At Jo Won-gyun’s question, Hwang Bo-kwang answered, “The Eorim and Central troops have destroyed the mob. So, calm your heart.”
Hwang Bo-kwang, who reported that, looked at the officials and said, “Now that the turmoil has subsided. Go back to your offices and do your business as usual.”
“But it is still noisy outside!”
Hwang Bo-kwang replied to the question of an official, “Huh, it’s just the soldiers who are subduing the rebels. There is no need to be scared.”
Hwang Bo-kwang sent out the men who were scared.
With a very serious expression, he looked at Jo won-gyun and said, “Sire, the Central Army has turned and sided with the rioters.”
“Huh… I knew it.”
Hwang Bo-kwang had taken out many commanders during the early stages.
Yet, the new ones didn’t seem stable enough to control the people.
And as the Central Army was divided into multiple leaderships under junior military officers, some divided troops sided with the people.
“There is no doubt that the Eorim will stay loyal to us. If we have time, we can subdue the riots. But right now, we need to get out of the capital because Jo Won-rak has reached the place.”
Excluding Lee Yong-mu and the troops taken by him, there were 100,000 Eorim and 30,000 Central Army under them.
However, 30,000 of the Central Army were siding with the rioters, and even the Eorim seemed to be shaking.
In that state, having a battle was impossible.
Internal cracks were more lethal than external attacks.
“We have planned to run, but I am getting worried about being caught, Uncle.”
According to the plan, the people should have drunk the poisoned water and turned into Kangshi and turned into their troops.
If that happened and the enemies entered the capital, Jo Won-gyun had a winning advantage, and they would be able to develop the Hwang Bo clan’s place as the next capital.
However, the Kangshi operation failed.
It seemed that the reason it didn’t work was because of the men who hid the emperor.
There were still some men under them, but they didn’t have enough force to win.
And if they waited in the palace, they would get caught by Jo Won-rak and Lee Yong-mu.
“There is still a way to get away.”
“Don’t say that… You don’t mean to burn down the palace, right?”
Jo Won-gyun asked with a frown.
“I feel bad, but that needs to be done. That is the only way to make it out in time.”
The Imperial Palace of the Song Empire was once burnt down.
Jo Yeo-moon, the first emperor, was driven to his end and didn’t want to hand over the palace to Emperor Jin jong.
Jo Won-gyun, who knew about his options, couldn’t help but feel annoyed, thinking that he would do the same thing as the first emperor.
“Sheeesh! If that is the only way, it can’t be helped but go along with it.”
Jo Won-gyun decided.
He didn’t have the intention to stay there and wait for Jo Won-rak.
With the help of a secret passage, Jo Won-gyun and Hwang Bo-kwang left the Imperial palace after selecting the best of the Eorim troops.
To prevent the rebels from pursuing them, they left behind some soldiers to save time.
“Fire! There is a fire!”
“The Imperial Palace is on fire!”
Once they escaped from the palace, the Imperial Palace, which had been standing tall for 500 years, was once again being burned in flames by those who couldn’t get rid of their greed.