The Era’s Identity
Our house’s gate was dancing, moving to and fro.
After enduring the invaders’ attacks for more than 10 minutes, it seemed like the sturdy gate wouldn’t hold out much longer.
The distance from the gate to the building I was in was merely 50 meters.
The moment that gate opened, it would truly be the arrival of a bloody melee with the invaders.
If I were the protagonist of an alternate history novel, I would have either possessed the martial prowess to fight like a warrior or overcome this crisis with a brilliant strategy like Zhuge Liang.
However, I realized once again that this reality wasn’t a novel.
I was just an 11-year-old kid, without the strength or wisdom to overcome this crisis.
I desperately hoped that the gate could withstand just a bit longer.
Please, hold on just a little longer!
Despite my desperate wishes, the gate eventually opened.
As soon as the gate that had protected us opened, the invaders sprang forth like released springs.
The bloodthirsty invaders rushed towards us.
Seeing their barbaric appearances, I froze on the spot.
However, the adults, as if anticipating this moment, calmly showered the charging foreign invaders with a rain of arrows.
In an instant, more than ten invaders fell, but even more of them entered the courtyard.
Afterward, the invaders faced our haphazard barricade.
Though hastily prepared, the invaders couldn’t charge at our long and sharp bamboo spears, and at that moment, arrows flew from the rooftops once more.
Swish, swish, swish!
“Idiots! If you hesitate, you’ll die from the arrows.”
Only then did the invaders come to their senses and charged towards the spears.
From what I know, the early Joseon army had crumbled pathetically in the face of such foreigner charges.
However, those who banded together to survive were strong.
“If we’re breached, we all die!”
Though clumsy, we held back the invaders while joining shoulders, and those behind us ruthlessly threw rocks.
The charging invaders realized that our resistance was far from ordinary and hesitated.
“We’ll help you! Just hold on a little longer!”
Grandpa, firing arrows from the rooftop, cheered on the men engaged in the melee.
If it weren’t for the adults of our family, including my grandfather, the flimsy barricade would have collapsed in no time.
Nevertheless, these invaders were Japanese pirates who had lived by the sword their whole lives, while we were farmers who had never had a drop of blood on our hands.
The Japanese anime One Piece romanticized pirates, but from what I studied, the pirates’ true nature was the sight we were seeing now.
One Japanese skillfully dodged the spears and entered the barricade, attacking the men like a wolf slaughtering a flock of sheep.
An uncle, with a limp arm from a single blow, would have to live as a disabled man even after the battle ended.
The uncle, who had received critical injuries that wouldn’t be surprising if he collapsed, instead charged the invader.
The invader, as if mocking that uncle’s struggle, took a step back and struck the uncle’s neck.
The uncle’s eyes, filled with resentment, met mine as he soared into the sky, as if it were a lie.
After locking eyes with the nameless uncle, I finally realized the identity of this era.
A time when peaceful mornings crumbled like a lie.
This era was a barbaric one.
At that realization, I felt bile rise in my throat.
Damn, I barely ate anything…
“Young Master, are you alright?”
Cheol tapped my back.
Thanks to him, my nausea seemed to subside a bit.
Looking back on it, Cheol didn’t seem as shocked as me even when he saw someone dying right in front of his eyes.
The fact that he was worried about me retching instead of the man whose throat had been cut made me feel an indescribable irony.
“Um, thanks to you, I’m fine now.”
Even at this moment, the foreign invaders rushed brutally towards the men.
Despite the fact that the elders in the house were barely targeting the invaders, they continued to push their way inside.
“Young Master, it’s too dangerous here. You must move to a safer place.”
Cheol’s words made me realize what I should do at this moment.
“Anyway, if this place is breached, we’ll be as good as dead! It’s better to take care of the injured right now.”
In this chaotic battle, there’s no telling if I might accidentally shoot an ally with an.
Rather, it would be more helpful to have the injured men move back.
As I moved, Cheol followed me.
“Those who are injured, please move back.”
“Ah, Young Master, I’m so sorry.”
One of the men approached me, bleeding from his abdomen.
His body was full of large and small wounds, showing how fiercely he had fought.
“Cheol, when I sprinkle the medicine powder, help me wrap the wound with a clean cloth.”
We sprinkled the medicine powder on the man with the severe abdominal wound and wrapped it with a bandage.
The injured man man, his body still staggering but was now wrapped in a bandages, headed back to the frontlines.
“Sir, where are you going?”
“If you, Young Master, are also fighting like this, how could a lowly man like me lie down? I have to kill at least one more enemy.”
Even now, the men fighting at the front were falling several at a time.
Despite being already injured, there was a lot to learn from his determination to fight.
Undoubtedly, that man must be in pain and afraid.
But he knew that if he gave up here, he wouldn’t be able to protect anything.
Having treated one man, several more patients approached me.
Among them was a man with a chest wound, making him have shallow and irregular breathing.
I knew from my experience writing a novel featuring a doctor protagonist that these symptoms were because of pneumothorax.
In my novel, the protagonist easily stuck a pen tube into the patient’s side to let out the air, thus avoiding the crisis.
In fact, medical dramas often used pneumothorax as a device to show off the protagonist’s abilities.
However, in reality, I was just a quack who could only sprinkle medicine on wounds and wrap bandages.
At least I could treat a man with the broken arm.
Instead of the man suffering from pneumothorax, I treated the man with the broken arm.
Fortunately, I learned how to apply a splint in the army, so the man with the broken arm was able to receive emergency treatment.
Unfortunately, while I was treating the man with the broken arm, the man who had been suffering from pneumothorax quietly closed his eyes.
When the hell were the reinforcements coming?
Kang Jik’s Strange Adventure
As soon as he realized that Japanese invaders had attacked, Kang Jik rode the fastest horse in the Kim family, So Phoong, to the local office in Eonyang.
It was just over 80 li from the Kim household to the Eonyang office.
“Come on, So Phoong! Hang in there.”
The horse’s hooves pounded the ground.
In the past, So Phoong almost killed a descendant of the Gimhae Kim clan’s Samhyeon faction but he was saved by the descendant’s mercy and now ran with great vigor.
Although not running at full speed, So Phoong’s pace was as fast as an ordinary pack horse, so Kang Jik was able to arrive in Eonyang in just half a day.
Upon arriving in Eonyang, Kang Jik rushed straight to the government office where the local magistrate was.
Although there was a military general in Ulsan, Kang Jik judged it would be difficult to get help from him since he was considered to have no real power.
“Whoa! Whoa! Stop right there. What brings you here?”
“Fo-fo-foreigners! Foreigners are invading!”
“Foreigners? Can you take responsibility for that story?”
“I am Kang Jik, a servant of the Kim family in Gimhae. Do you think I would talk nonsense after eating a hot meal?”
Frustrated, Kang Jik stomped his feet.
“How many are there?”
“I’m not sure either. They say that at dawn, the foreign invaders attacked and the village near Yeomposan suffered great damage.”
Kang Jik was led by the messenger to the government office.
The newly appointed magistrate was already handling official affairs.
“What’s the matter?”
“They say that foreign invaders had attacked!”
Was this the reason why the Kim family of Gimhae asked to mobilize those who were exempted from military service in exchange for providing gunpowder?
“Mobilize all the troops that can be mobilized right now.”
“Yes, sir! I’ll carry out your orders.”
The messenger vanished like the wind.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
A moment later, loud drum sounds filled the air.
“It will take at least an hour for the troops to gather, so can I ask something?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Before the battle, a senior member of the Kim family in Gimhae asked me to eliminate those who were exempted from military service in exchange for 500 bags of gunpowder.”
“Yes, I was the one who carried that gunpowder.”
When officials were appointed to Joseon villages, they usually supported their families with extra income from handling various requests instead of receiving a meager salary.
However, the newly appointed magistrate of Eonyang had just started his career and wasn’t part of any political factions yet, so he prepared food and weapons with the money he got from selling the gunpowder after listening to Baekgyeong’s request.
“Did the Kim family know that the foreign invaders might attack in the future?”
“…I don’t know the exact reason, but I know that a senior member of the family visited my lord after talking with the young master.”
“Really? How old is that young master?”
“He’s eleven years old this year.”
It’s amazing. There’s a prodigy who guessed the foreign invasion and moved the adults in the family at that age.
“I see. I have to prepare now, so you may leave.”
“Please save us.”
“Don’t worry too much. We’re from a family that received a reward from the king, aren’t we? If we can’t protect this place, we won’t have the face to see the king.”
Kang Jik left the government office immediately.
He thought it would take an hour, but contrary to Kang Jik’s expectations, the Eonyang magistrate was quite an experienced man.
In just half an hour, over 200 soldiers had completed their preparations and were ready to march.
“Amazing. Have we been training like this all the time?”
Before setting out, the Eonyang magistrate, dressed in armor instead of his official uniform, gave a speech to the soldiers.
“The foreign invaders have invaded Ulsan. You guys know better than I do that foreign invaders are like weeds. If we don’t pull them out by the roots in advance, they’ll keep growing and be a nuisance. If we let them go this time, they might even come to rob Eonyang, where you guys live, next year!”
Kang Jik’s fighting spirit flared up without him realizing it at the magistrate’s speech.
Kang Jik inadvertently joined the magistrate’s speech and felt embarrassed, but the atmosphere became heated.
“Wow! Let’s defeat the foreign invaders!”
“I’ll take the lead.”
Wearing his armor and walking confidently, the Eonyang magistrate looked quite strong.
After running for a while and starting to see Yeomposan, the foreign invaders hiding in the nearby forest appeared.
“We have to tie them down until the captain finishes looting!”
The Eonyang magistrate drew his sword and bravely charged toward the foreign invaders.
As two of his men fell in an instant, the enemy leader drew his sword and pointed it at the Eonyang magistrate.
“Are you the leader?”
Though unable to communicate verbally, the Eonyang County magistrate sensed that the Japanese before him was the leader of the group.
Unlike the foreigners he had already taken down, the one in front of him seemed to know about “spacing” and maintained a wary distance.
Quite impressive for a foreigner.
However, the Eonyang County magistrate showed no fear and closed the gap between them.
At that moment, Enma instinctively swung his sword at the magistrate.
The speed of his swing was almost too fast for the eye to see.
The Eonyang County magistrate blocked Enma’s strike while simultaneously headbutting him with his helmet.
Caught off guard by the unexpected blow, Enma stumbled and fell to his knees.
Damn it, I have to block the next attack…
But the Eonyang County magistrate was too quick for him.
By the time Enma tried to regain his composure and move, the officer’s sword had already slashed his throat.
“Good heavens! The leader!”
With their trusted leader killed in just two moves, the Japanese pirates fled in terror as if they had seen a ghost.
The Eonyang County magistrate didn’t have time to watch them go.
“Captain! Pursue and annihilate them. The rest of us shall head to the Kim residence! We must hurry.”
Having just gone through an intense confrontation, the magistrate calmly issued orders.
Watching this, Kang Jik felt as if the magistrate was a divine general who had descended from the heavens.
Heh, seems there’s no rule that says I have to die.
Kang Jik approached a soldier who was cleaning his weapon after the battle and asked,
“By the way, do you know the officer’s full name?”
“He uses the pen name Woo Chijeok.”
Woo Chijeok? I’ve never heard of it…
However, Woo Chijeok fought exceptionally well for an unknown soldier.