Silla

War sweeps fast through Silla as the General of this great country must work with his best friend and more, the King, to save their Kingdom.

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1. If Only Just a Regular Day

It was just a regular day at Silla, by regular I mean not regular at all. The sun was hiding from the bloodshed in every town, and screams heard from every direction. A strong stench of blood, sweat, and tears crowded Silla for miles. I thought back to the day this all started. The Xia people came from the north of Baekje, claiming to be friendly explorers. Little did I know Silla would soon become home to a plague of greedy men. Let's take it back to the day Xia came; It was the 48th of Lan, 1643.

    I was awoken by a playful voice, “Taejo, Taejo? Are you asleep?” the voice asked.

“No, of course not your majesty, I was just resting my eyes,” I answered back.

    “You know, I didn’t make you General of Silla so you could sleep while you're supposed to be training your soldiers.” The King had a serious look on his face, but deep down I knew he was just as tired as me from all the late night trainings.

“I’m not sleeping,” I got up and walked towards the soldiers. “See I’m awake.” The King got up to go to his room. As I walked towards my soldiers I heard someone yell my name.

“General, General!” The guard ran to me, when he finally got to me he was out of breath.

“What is it?” I asked surprised.

“General, strange people just came from the forest, we don't know if they're a threat or not.” The guard bowed to the King who was walking over here.

“Strange people? Are you sure they aren't from Gyeongsang?” The King asked the guard.

“I’m sure of it, your majesty, they speak and dress unlike anyone from Silla or Gyeongsang.”

I looked at the guard curiously and then to the King worried. “ Your majesty, I will check it out.” I looked bach at the guard,” Take me to them.”

The guard nodded, “Ye-”.

“No need to go alone, I will also come. Take us.” The King gestured at the guard to take us to the people.

“Yes, your majesty, this way.” The guard led us out of the palace, through Hanbong, a jade town. We went through the forest for a while until we arrived to an opening in the trees full of guards. The guard turned around to me and the King and pointed towards a group of men standing surrounded by guards.

“Your majesty, we kept them here so not to cause panic and gossip amongst our people.” The guard called another guard over.

“Your majesty, General. Thank you for coming,” the guard greeted us.

“What exactly is going on here?” I asked the guard.

            The guard faced me and explained; “Some men from the capital were hunting and ran into these strange men.” He looked over to a group of men from Bakje talking to more guards. “The strange men didn’t seem threatening, but when we tried to communicate with them neither of us could understand each other.”

“What should we do if we can't communicate with them?” The King asked me.

“Let me try to speak with them, I’ve picked up many languages while fighting battles in other countries. I can try to communicate.” I turned from the King and walked towards the strange men. “Hello, do you speak Guryo?” For a while the men just stared at the ground, but one came forward to speak.

“We do not speak Guryo or whatever, we speak Huane.”

They spoke in the weirdest accent I’ve heard throughout all my travels, the language they were speaking was very different but I could understand it. Many countries want Silla’s wealth and power but we also have many allies. I cannot let in spies but I also cannot make allied countries  mad, I have to take care of this carefully. “Huane? I’ve never heard of that. Where are you from, and how did you get here.” I asked kindly so they would know were not a threat if they are not.

“I would like to speak to whoever is in charge of these men surrounding me. I believe there's some sort of misunderstanding.” The man talking looked at the guards holding guns around them and back at me.

I signaled the guards to put their guns away, I did not believe they were spies, they seemed like kind men who are confused and lost. I turned to the man to speak again, “I am the one in charge, these are the palace guards that serve under me and the King.”

“Your men?” He looked at me as if he was doubting me. “I am Yuu Ei, the leader of these men, We came from Xia, up north from where we are. We came on one boat, there's twelve of us. We aren't a threat. We only set out as explorers, we had four months worth of food, but ran out during our trip. Luckily we ran into this island, we walked through the woods for a day then stumbled upon these men. That's how we got here.” Yuu Ei seemed calm and kind, I had no reason to suspect them.

“Sorry if you feel threatened, it's only natural to be cautious in a country full of spies. I’ve heard of Xia on many of my travels, but I’ve never been there. It's nice to meet you. I’m Taejo, the General of Silla.” I turned to the King and gave him an assuring look. The King left, knowing I cleared everything up.

“Who was that, that man that just left?” Yuu Ei asked as the King walked away.

I turned back to him and replied in a serious and proud voice; “That man, is his majesty, the King of Silla, King Jinheung.” The men seemed surprised to hear that. “Well, welcome to Silla. Why don’t the palace guards escort you to the capital, you seem hungry.” Before they could speak again I started to gather the guards around me. I faced them to give out orders on what to do,“I must speak with the King, get them to capital, get them fed, hydrated, and somewhere to sleep.”

“Yes, General,” the guards all shouted and went over to the men.

I walked away as the guards carried out their order. I walked alone through the forest towards the palace thinking about the men that showed up. “I wonder if those men are actually explorers. They seemed normal but I keep getting a strange feeling around them. I better hurry to the King.” I arrived at the palace, “I don’t see the guards or men, I must’ve gotten here first.”

I went through the palace gates up to the throne room to meet the King. He was resting peacefully in his throne. I walked up to him debating if I should bother him or not. I decided to let him rest a little longer. So, I quietly walked over to my desk, but he woke up anyways,

The King slowly woke up, he seemed surprised to see me.“Taejo, you’re back quicker than I thought. Did you settle everything with those men outside the capital?”

“Yes, Jinheung, I was able to communicate with them.” I walked closer to the King so I could explain in depth. “At first I had suspected that they were spies, but they seem to be explorers from Xia.”

“Xia? We’ve never had anyone from there before. What exactly did they say?” The King was fully awake now full of curiosity.

I sat in front of the King on the steps leading up to his throne. “The leader of the men was the only one who spake. He said his name is Yuu Ei, and he said they are explorers. Yuu Ei and eleven of his men were on a boat up north from Bakje exploring when they ran out of food after four months. They ended up here walking through our forests until they ran into some hunters.” I looked up at the king to see his reaction, but he seemed doubtful. “They said they weren’t a threat, and I have no reason to doubt them” I was trying to make the King feel more at ease. “I sent them with some palace guards to the capital to be fed and given somewhere to rest.”

“Very well, it's no harm to have guest, take good care of them, but keep a watchful eye on them.” The King looked up at me waiting for my reply.

“Yes, your majesty. I will have guards keeping a watch, and will personally befriend them to see if they’re up to anything.” I assured the King that I would take care of any problems.

“Thank you Taejo.” The king relaxed again and closed his eyes. I saw that as a sign leave him alone.

“I’ll get going, see you at the next training. Bye Jinheung!” I got up and walked out of the doors.

“Bye Taejo.” The King said goodbye as he was already half asleep.

Throughout a period of a week and a half I befriended Yuu Ei and his men. They were quite energetic and fun to be around. I watched them carefully and documented what I could for the King, I also asked the guards of anything they had seen. Nothing gave me the impression that they were anything more than explorers. The King treated them to delicious foods and entertainment, he even through a small festival for them. However, our new friends from Xia informed me that it was time they went back home to their families. I rushed to the King to make preparations.

“Jinheung, Yuu Ei and his friends have to go home in three days. They have families to get back to and a country waiting to hear about their new discoveries.” The King looked disappointed.

“It's understandable, they have families. I enjoyed their time here, tell them they are welcome any time. Make preparations for their return, make sure they have plenty of food and water, also give them a few gifts to bring back to their King and families. Perhaps we can form an alliance with Xia. They seem to be a country of good values.” The King stood up to order the guards to prepare food and wine for Yuu Ei and his men.

“Would you like to see them off?” I walked closer to the King. “They will be leaving in three days.” I walked out of the palace to inform Yuu Ei that we will provide him with food and other necessities. I went to the Inn they were staying at. I found them drinking rice wine and enjoying some dried shrimp.

“You all seem excited to be going back home.” I smiled and joined them.

“Of course we're excited we haven't seen our wives and children in half a year.” One of the men laughed and drank more rice wine as he told us about his wife and children.

Yuu Ei turned to me not realizing I was even there. “You were here this morning, what brings you back so soon?”

“Oh! I almost forgot why I came here, I got distracted by the delicious wine.” I laughed for a bit then continued; “In three days we will have food, water, blankets, gifts, and more waiting for you on your boat. The King sends his best wishes to the King of Xia and your families.”

Yuu Ei and the men all thanked me on behalf of the King’s generosity.

I returned to the palace, I was busy preparing the farewell for our new explorer friends.

The day Yuu Ei and his men were leaving, I went to the shore where Yuu Ei’s boat was. The palace guards and some soldiers were loading the gifts and food onto their boat. Yuu Ei and his men started to arrive. They seemed sad to go but full of energy for their long journey. When they saw all that the King had prepared for them, they were very excited.

“Taejo!” Yuu Ei called out my name from across the sand.

“Yuu Ei, you're here.” I walked over to Yuu Ei. “Were almost done loading everything up.”

“This was much more than I was expecting. Thank you so much.” Yuu Ei gathered his men around to say goodbye.

“Don’t thank me, this wall all the King’s idea.” I walked them over to their boat. “You should be set with plenty of rice wine, dried shrimp, fish, and some other foods for your journey. There are also barrels of water in the sides of  your boat. I wish you the best on your journey.” I led them up to their boat. Yuu Ei got on with his men and started out giving orders. All the guards were off the boat, so they were ready to sail off. The boat started to move, all of the men gathered to the back of the boat to wave. I shouted; “You're welcome anytime!”

“Thank you, we’ll be back soon.” Yuu Ei said his last goodbye as him and his men grew smaller and smaller into the water.

I returned to the palace with the guards and informed the King of their safe send off.
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