Today started off just like any other day.
I woke up before sunrise, washed my face with cleansing water prepared by Kang Cheol, and brushed my teeth with bamboo salt for dental health.
After I made my greeting to the elders of the house, I made my way back to my for breakfast.
I was so grateful for this peace.
The freshly prepared meal was enough to make my mouth water.
Oh, was today’s side dish fish again?
On my table was a shiny, steaming cup of rice, a plate of seasoned vegetables like bracken and bean sprout, a bowl of seaweed soup with white fish, and lastly, a perfectly grilled fish so big that it would be impossible to eat alone.
I might have complained about the side dishes in modern times, but this was 1583 Joseon.
I should be thankful for this meal, especially considering what we had just a year ago.
Thanks to my frugal father, our family’s breakfast menu back then consisted only of simple vegetables and soybean paste soup.
Our meals changed since the Fair Wind began fishing out in the sea.
Now, even my father would get upset if no fish were on the table.
Our family’s menu has changed that much.
Just as I put a big piece of the plump fish on the white rice and was about to take a big bite, my door opened.
“Young Master! Something terrible has happened!”
“Foreigners have invaded!”
My appetite dropped instantly, even before I took a bite of my breakfast.
“Foreigners? How many?”
“I don’t know, but they’ve already started looting the eastern side of Yeomposan.”
“…Wow, what a sudden twist.
Do the readers like this kind of scenario? It’s so frustrating.
I’d rather just say good luck and disappear!”
The sudden invasion of foreigners was an unexpected twist for me.
Now I understand why those with a hard life prefer a cool, refreshing story over something frustrating.
One would not want to eat a frustrating story like this in real life!
Having written a historical novel with my body, I now crave something cool and refreshing.
The problem was that there was no cool, refreshing drink or even a frustrating one at this time!
The sudden invasion of foreigners shook my mental state.
It’s because I knew very well how the Joseon army moved before the Imjin War.
The defensive strategy of Joseon during this time was called “Victory Tactics.”
Simply put, “Victory Tactics” was a plan to gather reserved forces and have the king in Hanyang appoint a commander to defeat the invaders.
Of course, the plan seemed plausible.
Naturally, there’s always a plausible plan in place before getting hit.
The biggest disadvantage of “Victory Tactics” was that it exposed the country to enemy attacks until the army could gather.
In other words, from my perspective, experiencing the invasion of foreigners meant that I couldn’t expect any help from the country.
“Sigh, where’s Grandpa?”
“He should be in the yard by now, as he’s probably been informed about the situation.”
“I need to go see him.”
“Huh? Young Master, you can’t! There might be a battle going on there.”
“That’s why I should go.”
The steam was still rising from the bowl of rice as I left my room.
Kim Baekgyeong was warming up his body as usual before practicing archery today.
Aigo, have I gotten old? My joints ache if I don’t warm up.
He had come out earlier than his grandson to warm up his body when a servant rushed over to him.
“Master! S-Something terrible has happened!”
“What’s the matter? Ha Seok, you have a habit of making a fuss.”
“It’s not that I’m making a fuss! Foreigners have invaded, and they’re looting the coast.”
“What? What is Hyeonmyeong doing?”
“He has already sent people to inform the nearby villages and is taking in refugees from those areas.”
At least that kid is doing his job.
Kim Baekgyeong, the head of the previous generation, hurriedly put on his armor.
Usually, when he practiced archery, he only wore a simple quiver belt and arm guard, but now he put on the full armor he usually wore when hunting.
Honestly, I wonder if I really need to prepare this much…
Most of the Japanese pirates never dared to plunder the noble houses.
The reason was that each of the nobles practiced archery for decades, making them skilled archers.
While the range of the pirates’ arrows was only 30-50 steps, the arrows of the Korean nobles had an effective range of around 150 steps.
Thus, the pirates would also suffer casualties
if they attacked a noble house.
The pirates mostly targeted commoners to survive, rarely attacking regular troops or noble houses.
The armed Baekgyeong’s appearance resembled that of a seasoned hunter.
“Father, have you arrived?”
“Yes, is everything prepared?”
“Yes, for now, I’ve informed our relatives about the news, so those nearby will be heading towards our main house.”
Survival comes first, so that’s the right choice.
What about the youngest?”
“I sent someone to find him, but… it’s almost winter, so he goes hunting every day.”
They say a worthless person isn’t even useful as medicine, but having him around would have been reassuring! Anyway, have you finished taking follow-up measures?”
“For now, I’ve evacuated the women and young children from the refugees to the inner compound.
My wife is caring for them, so there shouldn’t be any big problems.”
“Sigh, our heavily pregnant daughter-in-law sure is suffering a lot.”
“…The one regrettable thing is that most of the young men have gone out to sea, so the ones left to protect the house are mostly old men.
Right now, there are only about thirty people who can fight.”
“If the servants and relatives we sent for help come, the situation will change.”
“But I don’t see Kang Jik.”
“I gave a letter for him to deliver to Eonyang County.
Hopefully, the rescue team will arrive before sunset.”
“…Is that possible?”
“Didn’t you give the Eonyang County magistrate a favor just in case you needed it? He owes us, so he won’t be able to ignore our request.
And since second brother is working for the Office of Censors, the magistrate won’t be able to look down on us.”
Just because they lived in the countryside didn’t mean they were ignorant of court news.
It wasn’t uncommon for a powerful noble family in the countryside to have one or two relatives working in the capital.
I guess my second son, Hyeongyu, is useful in times like this.
Baekgyeong felt reassured, thinking about the help of his second son.
While talking with Hyeonmyeong about their plans, Baekgyeong remembered his conversation with his grandson a few days ago.
Ah, did Sangseung foresee even this? If we get through this ordeal, our family will grow even stronger.
“So, is there anything I can do to help?”
“Nothing for now.
We’ve piled up some stone towers near the fence and removed the arrows from the warehouse.
Thanks to that kid, Sangseung, we recently checked the bows and arrows, and they’re quite handy at a time like this.”
“Master, I see a suspicious group approaching from far away.”
“A suspicious group?”
Hyeonmyeong went outside the gate and spotted the group coming from a distance.
They were all armed with bows or spears.
It’s too far to see their faces, but they seem to be our relatives who have come to help us, right?
“Since we have important guests coming, go to the inner compound and bring some drinks for everyone.
Make sure there’s enough for everyone in the courtyard!”
It didn’t take long for Hyeonmyeong to realize that the group was his uncle’s family who lived across the river.
“Uncle, have you arrived?”
“Ah, family head! Long time no see.
By the way, where is my brother? Brother! I’m here.”
“Heh! I hear someone being noisy, so it seems Baekseon has arrived.”
“I don’t know how someone across the river arrived so quickly.”
“If it’s this guy, he can cross the Taehwagang River even with his eyes closed.
He loves fishing so much, doesn’t he?”
“Hehehe! As expected, my brother is the only one who understands me.
My children don’t understand their father’s only hobby, eh!”
Kim Baekseon loved fishing so much that he even gave himself the nickname “Taegong.”
“It’s not a compliment! Do you know how old you are already to be wasting your time with fishing?”
“Hmm, it’s not about age.”
Anyway, when the two of them meet, they really raise their voices.
I can’t tell if they get along or not.
Feeling that the conversation between the two would continue, Hyeonmyeong stepped in.
“Still, I feel relieved that Uncle came.”
“Ahaha! Family head, don’t worry too much.
My sons are not as good as Hyeonseong, but they can shoot arrows.
By the way, I don’t see that child Hyeonseong…”
“If it’s him, he’ll definitely come running when he hears the news that the house is in danger.”
“Hyung, not only Hyeonseong, but also our relatives who heard the news that the house is in danger will join.”
“But how big is the enemy’s force?”
“I sent some fast friends to find out the size of the enemy, but they haven’t returned yet.”
“Hmm, it’s frustrating not knowing the size of the enemy.
Didn’t they say that you will win a hundred battles if you know the enemy and yourself?”
“Let’s wait a little longer; the news will come.”
At that moment, they heard a voice that should never have been heard.
Why is Sangseung here?
“Family head… Why is our family’s child here?”
“That’s what I’m saying.
I told Kang Cheol to take him to the inner yard to evacuate.”
When he finally arrived at the yard, nearly a hundred people were preparing for battle.
Each of them held a spear or a sharp iron sword, and even Father held a bow with the string drawn.
“Ah, you shouldn’t have come here! You should go to the inner yard quickly…”
“Sangseung! This is not a place for you.
Go to the inner yard right now! All you have to do is wait there.”
“If we can block the enemy’s attack, this place will be safe, and if we get attacked by the enemy, the inner yard will also be in danger, so I will stay here.”
“Family head, it seems our family’s child is not wrong.”
“…Still, it’s too dangerous.”
Darn, I might get kicked out.
But would it be a blessing in disguise? A lifeline came down for me.
“Please save me! Chunsam, Chunsam!”
At that time, Samsik appeared in the courtyard.
But who was Chunsam?
Huh? It’s Gaettong-ajusshi, right?
Gaettong showed no response as if he had lost consciousness.
Upon closer inspection, it seemed like he had been attacked by the invading foreigners.
“Samsik, please lay down Gaettong here.”
“Ah, yes, I understand.”
Samsik carefully laid down Gaettong.
A rather serious wound was visible on Gaettong’s abdomen.
First, I had to administer emergency treatment.
“Kang Cheol, run to the clinic now and bring clean cloth and white powder.”
The white powder was a hemostatic agent used in the Joseon era, and I had experienced its effects before.
It definitely showed good results in stopping bleeding.
“Yes, young master!”
Shortly after, Kang Cheol brought white powder and cloth, and I applied the white powder to the wound without hesitation and wrapped the wound with the folded cloth.
A little later, the bleeding seemed to have stopped, but Gaettong did not regain consciousness, perhaps because he had lost too much blood.
“For now, we’ve done all the treatments we can, but we’ll need to call a doctor to be sure.”
Samsik bowed his head to me in tears, then bowed again.
At that time, a low but heavy voice was heard from the gate.
“Oh, it seems our nephew is interested in medicine?”
The person who appeared with the morning sunlight on his back was my youngest uncle.
He was so strong and robust that it was hard to believe he had been sickly as a child.
In fact, when I saw him before, he wore scholars’ clothing, so he had a strong scholarly vibe, but my youngest uncle in military uniform had a different presence.
He was big enough to block half the gate by himself.
He could have passed for three or four people if he were a regular man.
Was this what the leader of a top-tier group might have looked like?
“You rascal! Hyeonseong, how did you get here?”
But my youngest uncle, even with that appearance, was still the youngest brother to my father.
This was the first time the bushy eyebrows and sharp gaze on the spring-like beard felt so reassuring.
 “제승방략” can be broken down into two parts.
The first two, “제승” (je-seung), means “taking victory.” The last two, “방략” (Bang-Ryeok), means “strategy” or “tactic.”
 As the current head of the main branch of the Kim family, everyone is supposed to refer to Hyeonmyeong as “가주,” (family head), even if there’s a big age difference.
 TaeGong (태공) is a reference to Jiang Ziya (姜子牙), a nobleman from ancient China who is well-known for his legendary fishing skills.
 The author used “장판파” to describe Hyeonseong.
The term generally refers to a person or group with significant advantages because of their superior resources or equipment.
It originates from gambling terminology, where “장판” is a term for a big gambling operation, thus “장판파” refers to the operator or someone who has the upper hand.
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