Good doesn’t come, and those who come aren’t good
Gaettong groaned as cold sweat dripped down his face.
“Are you okay? Please try to come to your senses.”
What the fuck was going on?
The novel I was planning wasn’t this hardcore but rather a light, easy-to-read, time-killing piece.
But now, this situation was too much to handle.
Would it have been better to wait for this war to end in a monastery?
I get it! I get it!
There’s no way sticking your head in the bushes like an ostrich will make you safe right now, especially when facing fear.
Considering the upcoming Japanese invasion, this kind of thing will be commonplace.
I should pull myself together for now…
“Huff! Huff! Huff!”
Suddenly, Gaettong gasped for breath.
Without medical knowledge, I couldn’t tell if this was a good sign or a hallucination just before death.
“Um, young master, is he okay?”
How should I know if the guy with a torn side was okay? I was not a doctor.
The best I could do was apply the first aid I learned in the army.
All that was left to do was hope that Gaettong would return to his healthy self like before.
“…Honestly, I’m not sure either.”
“Please, save him!”
“A person’s fate is in the hands of the heavens. All we can do is pray.”
“Is that so?”
Samsik closed his eyes tightly.
Right beside us, my youngest uncle and father were having a conversation.
“Anyway, hyung, from what I know, there were more than 30 Japanese ships alone. What are we going to do about that?”
“There’re 30 ships? Is that true? Even if there were only 200 people per ship, that’s a total of 6,000 people!”
“It doesn’t seem like that’s the case. It looks like only the minimum number of sailors were on board.”
“How do you know that?”
“I saw the Japanese while hunting on Yeomposan. I counted about a thousand of them. About 30% were guarding their ships, and the rest headed north, where this guy was attacked. By now, the Japanese must have taken over the city’s eastern part.”
“Hmm, about 300 Japanese! If they split their forces, they might not attack us?”
“I don’t think so. They accidentally set a fire, but since there was no fire in the northern village. They must have been planning to loot quietly.”
“Hmm, something’s fishy?”
“Right! If about 300 people were heading north, then the only place to attack while their main force is looting would be our house, right?”
Even someone like me, who was ignorant of strategy, could see the persuasive argument of my youngest uncle.
The Japanese who moved northward were most likely trying to buy time for their main force to loot.
To loot, you need to move goods, and there’s no way there would be a 1-ton truck in this era, so everything had to be moved by hand.
In other words, the Japanese will definitely attack us.
“Excluding the soldiers guarding the ship and loading food, we should expect at least 300 to 500 of them.”
“Five hundred people…”
In siege warfare, the defending side can hold off more than 3 times the number of enemies.
To do that, we needed more troops.
There was a common expression used among writers.
For example, after a huge bombardment, the protagonist would say, “Did we get them?” or “Once this is over, I’ll confess to her.”
There was also a cliché that martial arts writers always used at least once.
That cliché was, “The good doesn’t come, and those who come aren’t good.”
In most cases, when this line was said, they would inevitably face a catastrophe or suffer great damage.
And that phrase came from the mouth of my respected grandpa.
“Hehehe! They say good doesn’t come, and those who come aren’t good.”
Ah, Grandpa, you shouldn’t talk about such worrying things!
“I, the head of the family, was a bit late because I had to evacuate my family members.”
“Just coming here is more than enough to be thankful for.”
“Hehehe! Last year, our family received help from your family. How can we ignore that and not return the favor?”
One by one, the families scattered throughout Ulsan began to gather.
In just 30 minutes, dozens of families had come together.
All of them were armed with bows, and when combined with the forces of the other families, their numbers reached 50.
With 50 skilled archers and 200 soldiers armed with spears guarding the house, maybe we could fend off the invaders without much damage?
As the people were gathering, Father hurriedly prepared the defense.
“The Silgae Stream flows to the west, so it won’t be easy for the invaders to breach! Those with spears, surround the main gate and the east wall! We can no longer accept any more refugees, so block the main gate.”
Under Father’s command, people moved quickly and efficiently.
Our house was behind a small hill, and the Silgae Stream provided a natural barrier on one side.
There was also a tall and sturdy warehouse on the east side, but it mostly stored items of little value, like straw and various tools.
I thought the warehouse was built here simply for the convenience of storing items, but in this emergency, the building became a solid watchtower.
“And you all, please snipe the invaders who try to climb over the wall from the rooftops.”
The nobles armed with bows climbed onto the eastern warehouse, and instantly, it became an excellent watchtower.
“Yes, young master.”
“Go fetch my bow and arrows right away.”
Clearly, I was not the protagonist of an alternative history novel.
If I were the protagonist, I would have predicted this situation, turned this crisis into an opportunity, and offered the readers a refreshing sip of soda.
I had speculated that there might be an invasion, but I couldn’t predict the scale and timing of their attack.
If I were the protagonist in a novel, I would have calmly pulled out a prepared plan for such a situation, but I don’t have such a convenient Doraemon pocket.
All I could do was struggle to survive with my family in this reality…
With the looting of just two villages, Takeyoshi’s pirate group managed to get almost 3,000 sacks of grain.
However, Takeyoshi wasn’t satisfied with just that.
“Kaido, be ready to set sail at any time.”
“Leave it to me. I will prepare everything without any errors.”
Even now, Kaido’s subordinates were busy loading the 3,000 sacks of grain onto the ship.
More than 200 of their crew members were tied up because of this, but Kaido believed that with 500 men under his command, he could easily plunder the Kim family.
“Now, the rest of you follow me!”
Having already seized the eastern region of Yeomposan, Kaido headed straight for the largest noble house in Ulsan without any hesitation.
The village beyond Yeomposan was much larger than the one they had previously plundered.
Huh, even without raiding a noble’s house, we can almost fill the ship with our harvest here.
“Captain, I don’t see any villagers.”
Did they all run away? This is why we should’ve moved as secretly as possible!
Takeyoshi thought of the foolish subordinate who had ruined his plan.
“Captain, what should we do? This village seems to have more food than the previous one.”
If we spend time raiding this place, we don’t know when the government’s army will arrive. But just by plundering this village, we can get enough revenue.
Takeyoshi hesitated between a stable income and a risky gamble.
And, true to a pirate who risked his life for money, Takeyoshi chose high risk and high return over the safe option.
“There’s no need to attack Joseon just to get some food. In the noble houses of Joseon, there are piles of books and porcelain! You guys may not know, but these days, daimyos don’t hesitate to spend a fortune to get their hands on porcelain cups. If we raid a noble’s house, we can fill the ship with such porcelain.”
As Takeyoshi led the way, his subordinates followed him as if they were bewitched.
Takeyoshi headed towards the distant cluster of black tiles, leaving the appetizing commoner houses behind.
After walking for quite some time, the hidden main house of the Gimhae Kim family finally revealed itself.
Seeing that, Takeyoshi’s forehead furrowed deeply.
Hmm, there’s a valley on one side, and the back is surrounded by hills. Even though the valley is narrow and shallow, it won’t be easy for my subordinates to attack. The entrance is narrow, but the arrangement of the buildings is such that they surround the entrance, making it difficult to attack.
However, compared to Japanese castles, which were nearly impossible to attack, the Kim’s residence seemed somehow surmountable.
“Hiyoshi, take a few kids and check out that hill behind.”
Takeyoshi’s plan was to thoroughly investigate the surroundings and attack the weakest-looking area in one quick assault.
But his plan soon fell apart.
When his subordinates went about 300 steps in, one of them fell down.
“What nonsense! What kind of arrow flies from 300 steps away?”
The effective range of a Japanese longbow was only about 30 steps.
Even the more advanced weapons, like the matchlock gun, could only take down an enemy from 100 steps away—the notion of an attack from 300 steps away was impossible in Takeyoshi’s understanding.
“It seems there’s an extraordinary archer among the enemies. I’ve heard that some generals in Joseon can shoot arrows from more than 300 steps away.”
“Why wouldn’t such a person be a general but instead spend time in the countryside like this?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Damn it! Nothing’s going as planned!”
If we can make all our troops outflank, we can avoid the arrows, but it’ll take time. We don’t know how much time we have left, but considering the time for plundering, we only have about an hour at best. That’s assuming Enma can buy us some time, but if it takes longer, we’ll be isolated in Joseon.
Faced with an unexpected attack, Takeyoshi had no choice but to revise his plan.
“Grab shields and advance slowly. Even if an arrow comes flying, it can’t penetrate a shield from 300 steps away. Close the distance step by step, then charge over the wall in one go!”
“We don’t have shields.”
“If we don’t have them, does that mean our pirate days are over? Find a way, even if it means tearing down a door!”
The problem was that the gentle slope leading to the Kim residence was only wide enough for one cart to pass.
Although there might be some casualties, we won’t be at a disadvantage if we engage in a closed-quarter battle! It’s said that Hideyoshi, who has already won a war against Shibata, doesn’t look favorably upon piracy. If we don’t make a profit here, it wouldn’t be surprising if our heads were cut off.
Today, Takeyoshi was not pleased with the slow actions of his subordinates.
“Hurry up, you worms! The sun has already passed overhead!”
Fearing Takeyoshi’s rage, the subordinates hurriedly improvised shields.
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