Around the same time, messengers dispatched from Hanyang hurried to military bases and naval stations located in strategic areas throughout Joseon.
In Gangjin, Jeollado, at the Jeolla Military Base:
This is an order sent from the Chongcham (Joseon Army Headquarters).
Let me see it.
Nam Kang-il, the military commander overseeing the land forces in Jeollado, received the order with a calm demeanor and broke the seal.
Thinking it was a routine order, Nam Kang-ils expression gradually grew serious as he read through it.
Is this true?
It is considered a fact at the Headquarter.
At the military officers reply, Nam Kang-il sighed deeply.
After reading the order again, Nam Kang-il asked the messenger.
So, when is this supposed to happen?
The Headquarter anticipates it will occur around the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Hearing this, Nam Kang-il calculated the date. The Mid-Autumn Festival was about ten days away.
To avoid alerting the snakes lurking in the grass , I should inform only a minimum number of people first.
As he briefly pondered whom to consult immediately, Nam Kang-il realized the messenger was still waiting.
Tell the Headquarter that I will stake my life to suppress this.
As Nam Kang-il responded, the messenger produced another sealed document
What is this now?
Its from His Majesty.
Hearing this, Nam Kang-il quickly stood up, adjusted his official robe, knelt down, and respectfully received the secret letter from Sejong.
After breaking the seal and reading the contents, Nam Kang-il instructed the messenger.
If His Majesty asks, tell him my response is Jinchung Boguk (Loyalty and Protection of the Country).
* * *
After sending the messenger away, Nam Kang-il immediately called for his deputy military commander, Jung-eun.
These damned traitors!
Upon reading the urgent report from Hanyang, the Jung-eun, Lee Han-jong, cursed angrily.
Who are these damned scoundrels? We must rush there and deal with them immediately.
The problem is, we still dont know who these damned scoundrels are. Thats why the Headquarter has only issued a high alert.
Nam Kang-ils words made Lee Han-jong nod in understanding.
Ah I see. Its not something to be broadcasted publicly
Thats why I called you, to make preparations in advance.
At Nam Kang-ils words, Lee Han-jong walked over to a map hanging on the wall.
After studying the map for a while, Lee Han-jong turned to Nam Kang-il.
If those traitors are gathering forces, theyll have the numbers, but they wont be well-armed.
That seems likely.
In that case theyll try to acquire weapons before advancing to the capital. Especially firearms.
That makes sense.
Nam Kang-il nodded in agreement. Many had witnessed the effectiveness of firearms in the battles against Japanese pirates since the late Joseon period.
Pointing to a location on the map, Lee Han-jong suggested a strategy.
This place, Bulsijaes, must be secured first. The fastest route from here, the Jeolla Military Base, to the capital passes through Bulsijaes. If we deploy cannons and muskets here to block them, we can send the cavalry to flank them.
Thats a sound plan. We should call the cavalry commander first, right?
Yes. The cavalry will be crucial.
The two proceeded to call the cavalry commander, responsible for leading the military bases cavalry forces.
* * *
Similar occurrences took place across military bases in the nation.
Each military base, upon receiving the orders, began to quietly deploy troops at key locations on the routes to and from their bases and Hanyang, preparing for any possible incidents.
The busiest movements were seen in the Left and Right Military Bases of Gyeongsangdo.
If an incident occurs, they will try to quickly move to Hanyang. The fastest route from Gyeongsangdo to Hanyang is through Mungyeong Saejae, so the rebels will gather there! Well intercept them at Mungyeong Saejae and crush them!
Following the orders of the Chongbyongsa (the military commander overseeing Gyeongsangdo, established during the Kyungjang era), the military commanders of the Left and Right Bases began moving their cavalry to Mungyeong Saejae.
* * *
As the Mid-Autumn Festival approached, an inexplicable tension began to pervade throughout Joseon.
The air feels strange these days.
Right? It feels like something big is about to happen.
Ive been having restless dreams.
Even the common people, oblivious to the actual situation, could not hide their unease as the atmosphere grew increasingly ominous.
Then, on the Mid-Autumn Festival, the flames of rebellion were ignited.
Kang Hyun-sus shout was immediately countered by Park Soon-hwi.
Old man! We are not committing treason but rising to eliminate treacherous officials!
Silence! Who are these treacherous officials you speak of? It is you who are ruining this country!
The exchange of words continued without progress, leading to a siege around the Iksan County Office, with the rebels outside and defenders inside.
Take over the office!
Kill the traitorous scum!
Similar scenes unfolded in various regions affected by the uprising.
Thus, the rebellion, later known as the Gi-Yu Rebellion, became increasingly tragic.
People living in the same regions but supporting different causes clashed, leading to grudges and a series of brutal acts of revenge.
* * *
Sejong, nodding at Jo Mal-saengs explanation, pointed out a critical variable.
What about those hiding in Hanyang?
There has been no movement yet.
At Jo Mal-saengs report, Sejong pondered the situation and then murmured,
They must be waiting for the Golden Army to make a move.
The Golden Army, primarily responsible for defending the capital, also functioned as a rapid response force in times of national crisis.
Realizing why Grand Prince Yangnyeong had not yet made a move, Sejong reached a decision.
Deploy the Golden Army. You know what to do, right?
Yes, Ive already relayed your command to the commanders.
As Jo Mal-saeng reported, Sejong nodded in agreement but didnt forget to caution.
Ensure everything proceeds without any issues.
Yes, Your Majesty.
The next morning, the gates of Gwanghwamun opened, and the cavalry charged out. Quickly passing through Sungnyemun, they joined other waiting forces and swiftly disappeared southward.
* * *
News that the Golden Army had left Hanyang quickly reached Seo Seons residence.
My lord. The Golden Army has finally left the city.
After Seo Seon briefly responded to Nam Jun-seoks report, he turned to Grand Prince Yangnyeong, who was seated at the high seat.
The Golden Army has finally left.
Yangnyeong, adorned in a studded armor with golden dragon epaulets on the shoulders, responded briefly.
While wiping his sword with a cloth, Yangnyeong asked Seo Seon,
Shall we move today?
Not today. They will be on high alert with the troops having left.
At Seo Seons reply, Yangnyeong nodded.
That makes sense. When would be a good time then?
Two days from now would be suitable.
After a moment of thought, Yangnyeong agreed.
That sounds good. The moon is still bright, making it an opportune time.
Yes. I will prepare accordingly.
Thus, the day for their action was set.
* * *
Two days later, at around 11 PM.
The main gate of Seo Seons house silently opened, and armed men quietly began to emerge.
It wasnt just Seo Seons house.
From the homes of officials who had promised active cooperation due to Yangnyeongs influence, groups of warriors also began to quietly step out.
At the forefront of these emerging warriors were large shields mounted on wheels. The massive shields, capable of covering a warriors entire body, were made of thick iron plates. The weight of these plates necessitated wheels at the bottom.
From the house of Hangangin, who held a position in the Ministry of Personnel, warriors were also exiting.
Watching the warriors leave, Hangangins wife, her face filled with worry, turned to him.
Is it too late to report this?
Its already too late.
Hangangin replied with a heavy heart.
Initially, his cooperation with Seo Seon was fueled by dissatisfaction over being overlooked for promotion. However, upon realizing it was a counter-revolution involving Yangnyeong, it was far too late.
By then, his family had already become hostages.
Hangangin looked up at the sky and murmured,
Now, I can only hope for success.
Meanwhile, a member of the Secret Police, hiding in the shadows of an alley and observing the scene, spoke to a colleague standing behind him.
Report to the top. Theyre moving.