From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion Chapter 32

Chapter 32

Why Are You Being So Burdensome About This?

Yi I prided himself on being the greatest genius in Joseon.

As evidence, he was called the Nine-Time Top Scorer, having achieved the highest rank in the imperial examination a whopping nine times.

In a time when others wondered if they could pass the examination even once in their lifetime, Joseon was turned upside down because he passed it nine times as the top scorer.

Sometimes, his rivals criticized this fact, but they shut up when he countered, “If you feel wronged, why don’t you become a top scorer yourself?”

However, Yi I encountered a genius who surpassed even himself.

Ahaha, a mere 11-year-old child created this?

Though Yi I himself had passed the initial imperial examination as the top scorer at the tender age of 13, the child before him had invented technology at the age of 11 that could change the fate of Joseon.

Moreover, he invented another technology to minimize any negative effects that could arise from the development of the first.

Was it called a holtae? With this machine, many more people could go out to sea to fish.

In agriculture, where weeding required the most labor, even young children or elderly people could theoretically do it.

But threshing required the strength of a fully grown man.

However, with a thresher, even women could perform agricultural tasks.

The invention of making fertilizer from fish innards was amazing, but seeing the genius who also thought of technology to overcome the potential negative impacts made Yi I acknowledge that there were heavens beyond heaven.

“Wait, could I try it myself?”

“Huh? Sure, you can use it as much as you want.”

Yi I eagerly ran over and inserted a rice stalk into the gap of the holtae.

And, as the child had been doing, he pulled the rice.


In an instant, grains fell to the ground.

“Amazing! This is truly amazing!”

At this rate, a single woman could thresh a whole sack of grains in a day.

“All I did was place a metal spike at a distance where a rice stalk could fit.”

“Isn’t that what makes it even more amazing? Anyone can make it, so it will be easy to distribute. If it’s easy to distribute, the lives of the people will surely improve!”

And if he’s a genius who surpasses me, he must have made it with an easily distributable structure in mind.

“Today, you’ve seen the first of three items I planned to show you. Shall we move on to the second item?”

“Are you saying there are two more items like this?”



Yi I now found the child before him somewhat frightening.

What was I doing at 11? All I did was immerse myself in reading and memorizing books, but this child at 11 had invented technology that could save the people.

Uh, why was this ajeossi suddenly making things so burdensome?

“It might be a bit loud, is that okay with you?”

“Ha! To witness technology that could change Joseon, why would a bit of noise matter? What’s the second technology?”

Ajeossi, you’re being too enthusiastic, no?

What if he suddenly developed high blood pressure and collapsed?

Ah, the sound of the matchlock was going to be really loud, right?

Luckily, we rented a quiet warehouse on the outskirts of Hanyang.

It shouldn’t be a big issue, but still, Yi I might be surprised.

Wasn’t Heo Jun the royal physician at the court now?

If so, could he save this ajeossi?

All sorts of worries were flooding in.

I headed to the shooting range with Yi I.

The target was a dujeonggap hung on a scarecrow, which, by the way, was sponsored by my second uncle.[1]

Meaning, a considerable number of resources went into this presentation.

Not only that, but there’s also a special device inside the armor to show the full effect.

“Isn’t this a matchlock?”

Why did he suddenly look so sullen?

It was confusing to see such a different reaction from when he saw the holtae.

Ajeossi, this is going to be more amazing, you know?

“This gun is different from the ones used in Joseon. Actually, this weapon was used by the Japanese pirates who invaded Ulsan this year. My grandfather also died because of this weapon.”

Technically, collecting spoils of war like this wasn’t a problem, but it also was.

Regardless of the era, collecting spoils of war was a right of the soldiers.

But not reporting it?

That could indeed be a big problem.

“I really wanted to show this new weapon to the high officials of the court.”

“…What’s the reason?”

“Because I saw the future of Joseon in this weapon.”

“The future of Joseon?”

“First, let me show you the power of this weapon.”

Having fired a matchlock several times already in Ulsan, I loaded it without hesitation.

Before writing, I read a book called Mystical Secrets to figure out how to load a matchlock, thinking it would be helpful!

Once again, I felt immensely proud of myself for studying in advance before writing a novel.

Loading, as it turned out, was the hard part, but Gyesam had done it for me.

All I had to do was light the fuse, fit it onto the touch hole, and prepare to fire by taking out the gunpowder pan.

In a perfect standing shooting stance, I aimed at the scarecrow wearing a dujeonggap.


Unlike the K-2 rifle, which fired immediately upon pulling the trigger, the matchlock rifle required the gunpowder to ignite before firing.

At this moment, the muzzle must not waver.

If the muzzle wavered, this presentation was doomed!


I could hear the gunpowder igniting.

And then, a moment later—


Despite having braced it firmly against my shoulder, my body staggered significantly.

The recoil was much stronger than that of a K-2!

Indeed, I needed to learn martial arts and train my body.

Simultaneously with the firing sound, something else broke.


It was the sound of a small jar placed on the scarecrow breaking.

And inside that small jar was a liquid made from red dye.

A ballistic gel from the Joseon Dynasty, perhaps?

Well, it was all for visual effects.

“How does it look?”

“What do you mean, ‘how’?”

Wasn’t he the greatest genius of Joseon, and yet this was his reaction after seeing this weapon?

Disappointing, right?

Sure, it looks quite powerful, but aren’t guns inherently more flawed than bows? Then why does he look disappointed?

Yi I had already recognized me as a genius, so seeing me look at him with frustration made him decide to swallow his pride.

“I still don’t grasp the greatness of this weapon. Could you explain it to me?”

“What just happened was a mere 11-year-old killing a general wearing the best armor in Joseon, the dujeonggap.”


Yi I finally realized what I was getting at.

Ah, that’s it!

“Of course, this weapon is not without its drawbacks. Firstly, I cannot load this weapon by myself. And since it uses gunpowder, it cannot be fired on damp or windy days.”

Likewise, a bow’s strength decreased as the glue loosened in high humidity, naturally reducing its power.

However, it didn’t become entirely impossible to fire.

Still, a gun was not an inferior weapon to a bow.

A gun had its own advantages.

“And it’s been a month since we heard of the Jiajing wokou raids….”


He immediately grasped the point I wanted to make.

“This country, Joseon, is poor. The time it takes to train a competent archer, if calculated in terms of grain, would require ten bags of white rice per person.”

Even I, who took up archery for health, shot arrows all morning.

After more than a year of training, I could barely hit a target 20 steps away.

If we were to train archers?

Depending on their talent, but to make a significant impact in battle, it would take 10 years of pulling bows.

But guns?

If one learned how to fire and had enough gunpowder, it would only take a few days to hit a target 20 steps away.

“Also, even someone still growing like you can kill an heavily armored general, which shows how destructive it is.”

That was the second advantage of a gun!

Its power lay there.

The power of a bow varied greatly depending on the individual’s strength.

A bow would struggle to penetrate a dujeonggap even at close range.

However, a gun can cause acute lead poisoning with a single shot within its range, making it incredibly powerful.

And it seemed Yi I had also figured out the last advantage.

“Making a bow requires the horns of cattle, but a gun only needs iron and wood, so there’s no need to watch out for the cattle’s owner. That’s an advantage.”

See, how could someone so knowledgeable say this weapon wasn’t extraordinary?

In the 21st century, China would frequently impose sanctions on us.

But this was also true for 16th-century Joseon.

China, too petty-hearted to be called a great nation yet too large to be called a small one, would often pressure Joseon by using the essential buffalo horns needed for making bows as an excuse.

Joseon was thus reluctantly swayed by China, forced to eat mustard in tears.

Still, before the Imjin War broke out and without any significant debt to China, Joseon’s perception of China was probably just like that of a “strong but unruly neighbor.”

But after marveling at the rain of money—no, the rain of rice provided by the Wanli Emperor following the Imjin War, China became the country that saved Joseon.[2]

This must be prevented at all costs.

Who would care about China offering rice if only the first phase, the Imjin War, occured?

But once the first phase ended, even more terrifying horse-riding bastards will target Joseon.

At the very least, if we aimed to cut ties with China, we must stop the Imjin War with our strength alone.

For that, the power of the matchlock was necessary.

“That’s correct. This weapon requires extremely short training time, all materials can be produced domestically, and lastly, it possesses formidable power.”

However, he proposed an alternative to the matchlock.

“Don’t you know that our Joseon has the Divine Weapon?”

“I am aware. I have ears, and I’ve heard plenty about the unit armed with the Divine Weapon making great achievements in the northern disturbance this year.”

“The Divine Weapon can fire fifteen bullets up to 700 steps in one shot.”

“However, this weapon can catch a bird in flight with its accuracy.”

What was the most important for a long-range weapon?

Destructive power?

Whether hit hard or lightly, the result was the same with a gun.


No matter how far it could shoot, it was meaningless if it didn’t hit, right?

Exactly, the most crucial thing for a weapon was that it must hit its target first.

And in that “accuracy” aspect, the matchlock far surpassed the Divine Weapon.

“That’s why the Japanese call this weapon ‘matchlock ‘.”

“Accuracy, I see. The reason for loading 15 bullets must be to increase the chance of hitting the enemy, I understand. But it seems incapable of rapid-fire, how will you address this?”

His question pierced through the core issue of why the matchlock wasn’t the key weapon used during the Imjin War.

Indeed, the matchlock had too many weaknesses.

It had a slow reloading speed.

The emergence of line infantry was to compensate for this.

Before line infantry, medieval armies relied on a doctrine where musketeers would shoot under the protection of pikemen.

Did the genius born of Joseon imagine the tactics that Westerners would learn through tremendous bloodshed?

Ah, such a coveted talent.

But this gentleman was soon to die.

Why spill the following content to a man about to meet his maker?

There was a way to overcome this drawback, but I chose to keep my mouth shut.

“It might be difficult right now, but I will show you the solution in the not-too-distant future.”

I couldn’t just dumbly say “I don’t know about that?” so I bluffed as if I was diligently pondering.

Indeed, I had prepared step-by-step methods to overcome the weaknesses of the matchlock.

“Another problem. To make gunpowder in this land, saltpeter is needed, but the reality is there’s not even enough for cannons.”

“Wouldn’t it require less gunpowder than the Divine Weapon?”

“Have you imagined how much gunpowder would be needed to supply the entire army?”

Such a damn stickler.

And he was not wrong.

But did he know?

I had been waiting just for this question to come up.

Finally, we were coming full circle to the last sequence.

[1] A dujeonggap is a type of brigandine armor.

[2] Wanli Emperor (r. 1572-1620)

From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion

From the Imjin War to the Qing Invasion

Score 9.1
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: ,
In order to write an alternate history novel, one must study the respective era. While setting up the world of the work through studying, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I found myself in the Joseon Dynasty. Coincidentally, it matched the historical background of the novel I intended to write. The problem is, it was 10 years before the Imjin War.
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