Murakami Pirates, Shoot for the Stars!
Murakami Takeyoshi was the great pirate controlling the Seto Inland Sea and, at the same time, a samurai of the Mori family, considered to be the best in the Western countries.
Takeyoshi gathered all his subordinates who were plundering around the Seto Inland Sea after a long time.
Famous pirates like Kaidou, the second-in-command of the Murakami Pirate Group, and Enma, with his samurai-like swordsmanship, gathered on Daimado Island at Takeyoshi’s call.
“Thank you all for coming.”
“Kahaha! Who would dare to refuse the command of our great Captain who controls the Seto Sea?”
“Right! If we refuse our Captain’s command, we’re done for in Seto!”
The pirates ‘ morale soared high thanks to Takeyoshi, who captured a big prize after a long time.
“Since everyone has gathered, let’s start the meeting!”
“Captain! It’s really like a dream. To think that the Mori family would allow us to plunder Joseon!”
“Kaidou, as you know, this is a great opportunity for our group.”
The Murakami Pirate Group was active from the Kurushima Strait to the Seto Inland Sea and was famous for its relentless fierceness in Japan.
However, the truth was that the sea where they operated in Japan was not very profitable.
The real profitable areas for plundering were not Japan but Joseon and China.
Even though the local daimyo regarded pirates as thorns in their eyes, they couldn’t survive without plundering.
The senior pirates said things were better in the past.
The great pirate, Golden Defeat, was said to have accumulated great wealth by roaming around the Seto Sea.
However, there was tremendous military development because of the 100 years of the Warring States Period in Japan.
The daimyo, having been at war for 100 years, had to focus on survival, so they didn’t encourage agriculture or commerce but hired soldiers with that money instead.
As a result, plundering became more difficult, and the income from piracy decreased.
Takeyoshi knew his subordinates’ discontent better than anyone.
Isn’t it like hitting a crying child’s cheek when asked to invade Joseon in this situation?
Takeyoshi grinned involuntarily.
His subordinates chatted about their desires.
“I’m worried about how much tribute the Mori family will demand from us.”
“Don’t worry too much about that. The Mori family said they would only take half of the proceeds from this plunder.”
“Is that so? Now we can recruit new members!”
“Kehehe! I’ve had my eye on some people. Some of the samurai against Hideyoshi on Nobunaga’s side want to join us.”
“Don’t be stupid, Enma! We don’t know what Hideyoshi would do if we accepted them.”
“Kaidou! Now we have to grow our group!”
As Kaidou and Enma, known as the pirate group’s two arms, raised their voices, Takeyoshi stopped them.
“Enough! It’s useless for brothers to fight over something that hasn’t happened yet. You both seem excited after a long time, so cool your heads.”
Takeyoshi subdued the two arguing pirates at once by reminding them of the importance of this expedition.
“You all know that this voyage is especially important. I heard that the harvest in a region called Yeompo in Joseon was so good that even a passing dog would fatten up.”
“Hehehe! Finally, we can hear the screams of the Joseon people. If that story is true, we can loot at least a thousand seok of grain in one plunder.”
“Ha, just a thousand seok?”
“Uh? I set a high goal of a thousand seok because Captain said it was a good wind.”
Takeyoshi looked at Kaidou for making a stupid expression.
Such a pathetic friend. Why doesn’t he understand there’s a good reason for the Mori family to send us, even at the risk of diplomatic problems with Joseon?
One of the reasons Takeyoshi could become a great pirate was that he had a strong force to help him.
However, Takeyoshi’s first weapon was his keen insight.
The reason the Mori family chose Takeyoshi over other pirates was also because of that shrewdness.
“Kaidou, our goal for this voyage is ten thousand seok.”
“Huh? We need to load at least ten thousand seok on our pirate ship to fill it with food.”
“Ten thousand seok sounds good. The goal is exactly ten thousand seok!”
“… Captain? Do you plan to rob the Joseon government? Even the legendary great pirate, Golden Defeat, died when he went to Joseon in the Eulmyo years.”
“Enma, a pirate can never survive long in this occupation if he’s stupid. I don’t even think about foolishly looting the Joseon government, so don’t worry.”
“Phew! Wait, then how are we going to plunder ten thousand seok worth? We have only half a day before the Joseon army comes rushing in.”
“Think about where we have to plunder ten thousand seok in half a day.”
“…You don’t mean the noble’s houses?”
“Yes, the granaries of the Joseon nobles! They say they have enough grain to last for years!”
“But it won’t be easy to plunder them, right? Especially the arrows shot by the nobles are on a different level from what we know.”
In fact, Japanese bows were large but had weak power, so they couldn’t fly far, while Joseon’s bows were known for being fast and flying far.
However, Takeyoshi did not plan to attack the noble’s houses without thinking.
“That’s why I borrowed a special weapon from the Mori family.”
“You don’t mean?”
“Yes, the matchlock musket! A weapon that can even bring down a bird! With that, we don’t have to fear Joseon’s bows. Not only that but there will also be an abundance of valuable items like books and money overflowing from the nobles’ houses.”
“Definitely! It might be easier and more profitable than plundering government offices. You truly are a great leader!”
“We’ll set sail when the evening shadows fall. Make sure to inform your subordinates!”
“That way can probably arrive in Joseon by dawn.”
“Yes, tomorrow will be the busiest day of your lives since you were born, so make sure your subordinates are well-fed!”
Takeyoshi watched his departing subordinates and made a resolution to himself.
I need the power to survive in these troubled times. No matter what happens, I will survive!
As the sunset dyed the sea red, Takeyoshi headed for his flagship boat.
“Set sail, Murakami Pirate Group!”
The blackened waves parted as Takeyoshi’s ship advanced.
Shortly thereafter, dozens of ships followed in close succession.
Blood and Terror
The Murakami Pirate Group, having arrived at Ulsan before dawn, anchored their ships on an unnamed sandy beach instead of Yeompo Port.
The sandy beach was wide enough for dozens of ships to anchor.
“From now on, Enma, you’ll plunder the village to the north. Since the Joseon people don’t know about our landing yet, we have to move as stealthily as possible.”
After receiving Takeyoshi’s order, Enma drew the katana from his waist.
“Captain, don’t worry. I’ll take care of them before they make a fuss.”
Next to Takeyoshi, Enma’s swordsmanship was outstanding, and his confidence seemed to pierce the sky.
Anyway, the only people in Joseon who are good with swords are the nobles. And there are no houses where the nobles live with tiled roofs in the north.
“Kaidou, once Enma returns, load the plundered goods onto the ship and be ready to set sail at any time.”
“Leave it to me.”
“The rest will follow me to plunder the village below the mountain! We don’t know when the Joseon army will move, but we must plunder the nearby area by noon to be able to plunder the nobles’ houses in the afternoon. If the Joseon people hide in the nobles’ houses, it will become troublesome, so kill them all.”
Takeyoshi led a hundred subordinates and raided the fishing village at the foot of the mountain.
“Wh-Who are you?”
As soon as Takeyoshi arrived at the fishing village, he locked eyes with a diligent Joseon person.
In an instant, Takeyoshi stabbed the man’s forehead with his sword.
“Start the plunder now. We don’t need prisoners, so kill them all!”
As Takeyoshi expected, the sudden attack confused the Joseon people, and they fell without much resistance.
Is this the storage?
When he opened a small warehouse that seemed newly built next to a thatched house, there were stacks of grains inside.
It looks like more than ten seok at a glance. If this house isn’t unusually wealthy, and they all have this much grain on average?
“Hey, check if the other houses have this much grain stored too.”
The men under Takeyoshi’s command scattered.
Although left alone in an area that could be called enemy territory, Takeyoshi did not feel anxious.
“It’s no different here in Joseon.”
No, it was even easier than Japan, which the shogun was protecting.
Takeyoshi went around looking for people left in the houses.
Then he found a little boy who looked quite similar to the man he had just killed.
Is that his son? There must be at least three or four more.
“Pl-please spare me.”
The little boy sat down on the spot, trembling.
He was so frightened that he wet his pants right there.
I can’t leave them alive.
As Takeyoshi was about to slit the boy’s throat, a woman jumped out from inside the house and was a little faster.
With one strike, the woman’s head fell off.
“Tsk, you were going to die anyway!”
In the blink of an eye, Takeyoshi killed the entire family and discovered a baby crying in the room, who seemed to have just been weaned.
As if knowing its mother’s death, the newborn cried sadly.
I can’t leave it crying like this.
The baby stopped crying as well.
Takeyoshi, who had effortlessly taken the newborn’s life, searched the house for any other Joseon people.
The number of people is smaller than I thought, considering the size of the house. Could they have anticipated our attack? No, if they had, we would have been surrounded by soldiers by now.
Takeyoshi searched every corner of the house just in case, but there were no more living Joseon people.
“Captain, it looks like there’s food stocked up in almost every house, close to ten or twenty bushels.”
“Oh? Is that so? You guys start stealing the food right now!”
Upon hearing Takeyoshi’s order, the Japanese pirates began stealing the grain in pairs.
Then, a large fire broke out in a nearby house.
“Damn it, who was stupid enough to set a fire?!”
The most important thing in this raid was secrecy.
Takeyoshi knew better than anyone that it would be a toss-up if he faced the Joseon army with his mere 1,000 men.
That’s why he had chosen to start looting at dawn when it was possible to launch a surprise attack.
He also didn’t spare any survivors in case they could spread the word.
If things get this noisy, it’ll be hard to avoid damage and benefit from the loot.
“Who did it?”
At Takeyoshi’s shout, his men flinched and bowed their heads.
Takeyoshi, known for his hot temper, was a figure of fear for the enemy and his men.
As Takeyoshi’s voice grew colder, a pale-faced man raised his hand among the Japanese pirates.
“Ca-captain! It was a mi-mistake.”
“While chasing the Joseon people who fled into the kitchen, the fire in the kitchen accidentally spread.”
“Didn’t I clearly say to handle things quietly?”
“If you’re sorry, pay for your mistake with your life!”
Before the blood of the Joseon people had even dried, Takeyoshi’s sword, now soaked with the blood of his subordinate, had become a symbol of terror.
“There’s no other choice! First, you guys start stealing the food. If anyone’s lazy because it’s heavy…”
Takeyoshi urged his men by splattering the blood on his sword instead of saying anything.
And the effect was excellent.
Damn it, things got messed up. I guess I’ll have to attack the noble’s house a little earlier.
But Takeyoshi, who had looted countless times, had prepared Plan B.
Enma must be busy moving food after cleaning up the northern village by now, but there’s no other choice.
 A seok was about 18 liters. Note that one seok was about 10 koku. One koku is the amount of rice one person consumes in one year.
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