|Battle of Bayou Arc|
|Starting Date||April 24, 2008|
|Ending Date||September 10, 2009|
|Number of Chapter||66|
← Training Arc
Alliance Arc →
Battle of Bayou Arc is the 6th story arc of the Kingdom manga.
The arc opens with Chancellor Ryo Fui giving orders to Great General Mou Gou to lead an invasion of Han's lands. Out of concern for the people's well being, the soldiers that had served in the last war are not reenlisted, in their place, 200,000 fresh troops are drafted.
During this period of respite, Shin seeks out and asks for training from General Ou Ki, the last member of the Six Great Generals while Ka Ryo Ten enters the Strategist Academy ran by Shou Hei Kun, of Ryo's Faction.
Taking advantage of the Qin Army's absence, Zhao forces launch an invasion of their own, slaughtering every villager (regardless of age or gender) in their path. The chief offender of this bloody vendetta is Man Goku; as a survivor of Chouhei, he cannot forgive the people of Qin, and orders his troops to kill without mercy.
Having already drafted and launched an emergency army, a Commander-in-Chief is still required to lead it. Assumed to be the only remaining general competent enough to lead armies in the 100-thousands, Ryo Fui selects general Mou Bu, who had been left in reserve at the start of the Han invasion. Shou Bun Kun, however, rejects this proposal, stating that while Mou Bu is a strong general in offensive ability, he lacks the defensive ability, and thus would not be right for this war. Annoyed with anger, Mou Bu tries to throttle the old official but Shou Hei Kun holds him bac, inquiring as to who else could lead in his place. Shou Bun Kun replies "There is only one... the single strongest general in all of Qin."
Laughing, General Ou Ki enters the room followed by his aide Tou and Shin. Angered, Mou Bu challenges Ou Ki, stating that he is interrupting their meeting. But Ou Ki laughs him off, claiming that he was summoned there. At this, Shou Hei Kun steps forward to take responsibility, noting that he would have Ou Ki take the position of commander-in-chief.
Refusing to be seen as a weaker general than Ou Ki, Mou Bu argues with Shou Hei Kun, before defiantly storming out. Ou Ki then orders everyone to leave the throne room so he can converse with the king alone, claiming it is a sacred ceremony from King Sho's reign. He then uses their time alone to pass on to the young monarch what Sho claimed was the way a king should rule.
March to Bayou
Following Ou Ki's appointment, Shin left immediately to join up with the bulk of the army's forces; the infantry that had already set off under Heki's command. Forced to wait until the war councils conclusion, Ou Ki would set off with his cavalry a few days later, and meet up with the infantry before they reached Bayou.
Upon regrouping with his comrades from the previous war, Shin orders them to find the strongest guys they can, resulting in a hundred-man unit built almost entirely from the survivors of the 4rth and 2nd armies. Speaking to his newly formed unit, he informs them that they are a 'special unit,' falling directly under Ou Ki's command, and as such, will play a decisive roll in the war. He then introduces his first lieutenant En, noting that (with the exception of his second lieutenant, Kyou Kai) his unit is complete.
Before Ou Ki leaves the capital Shou Bun Kun inquires as to why he decided to join the war. It is then revealed that the two are old war friends, who started off as fellow hundred-man commanders and rose through the ranks together. Bayou is noted to be a special place to Ou Ki: as it is where one of his fellow Six Great Generals of Qin, Kyou, died; and where Hou Ken, Kyou's slayer, was then thought to have fallen to Ou Ki's Glaive. But Hou Ken somehow managed to survive and is returning to Bayou as the commander-in-chief of Zhao forces. Vengeful, Ou Ki claims he will "conclude it with this battle."
That same night Kyou Kai returns to take her position as lieutenant of Shin's 100-man special unit, and the following morning Ou Ki and Mou Bu set out. Without a commander-in-chief present to raise spirits, and demoralized by rumors of the Zhou army's unstoppable advance and heartless brutality, morale began to waver, with more troops deserting every night; the disintegration of the Qin army becoming a very real threat. This continued until Ou Ki arrived, his mere presence stirring the men's courage.
Back in the capital, Shou Bun Kun informs the assembled delegates what manner a man Hou Ken is, stating that he is not a 'general' at all; far from being a leader, he is an army in his own right, capable of fighting past a defensive formation of 2,000 elite troops alone, and slaying Kyou in a duel. He then notes that Hou Ken doesn't care about his country, or even winning the war at all, only proving he is the strongest warrior. Hou Ken claimed to be a Bushin.
Ou Ki's Arrow
Arriving at Bayou, rather than engage the Zhao forces surrounding the city, Ou Ki decides to pull back to the Kan Plains, drawing the enemy onto more advantageous terrain. The Zhao troops break the siege and alter formations accordingly. Arriving just in time, Ka Ryo Ten and Mou Ki take position atop a ruined castle tower overlooking the battlefield, intending to gain real-life experience for their training as a strategist.
With Vice General Mou Bu leading the center formation of 40,000 men, Ou Ki made use of his strength, leaving the offensive in his care. He then rides over to the left flank, ordering it's commander, Kan Ou to charge as well. Continuing on to Shin, he assigns the young commander his first mission, to use the left flank's advance as a diversion to slip in with his small unit and take General Fuu Ki's head, noting that this clash is "the most important fight of all the opening engagement." Shin accepts this task eagerly, and approving of his determination, Ou Ki names his unit the Hi Shin Unit, or, 'Flying Arrow'.
While Kan Ou's left army of 10,000 engages Fuu Ki's 20,000, the Hi Shin unit makes use of the confusion to slip around the battlefield. Clinging to the terrain for cover, they follow the low cliffs that serve as a border between the plains and the forest beyond, to launch a surprise attack on Fuuki's left flank. To ensure the success of the plan, Kyou Kai supports the unit by assassinating any spotters that notice their advance.
In the face of Kan Ou's charge, Fuuki pulled back his troops, appearing to retreat and thus drawing the Qin soldiers into his trap. The formation changes into a 'U' with shields and pikemen positioned at the front of the 'U's base to skewer the advancing Qin, and archers taking up the rear and the arms of the 'U' to cut them down and force them into a retreat. The Zhao's superior cavalry then sweeps through, mopping up the scattering Qin forces. Noticing the trap, Heki orders the soldiers under his command to halt, and thus manages to survive the trap.
Due to their small numbers, the confusion stirred by their surprise attack, and the enemy's focus on eliminating Kan Ou's troops, the Hi Shin unit is able to quickly cut through enemy ranks. Following Kan Ou's cavalry, Heki's unit charges forth into the base of the 'U' formation.
Their progress halted by elite troops, Shin is forced to split up his unit and press forward with his stronger soldiers, while the rest hold the enemy mass at bay. With no way to stave off Shin's advance, general Fuuki has his command post-retreat, creating space for his cavalry to trample over them. But just as it seems they have failed, Kan Ou and Heki's troops breakthrough.
While Kan Ou takes Fuuki head-on, Shin slip through the rear. Certain of his victory Fuuki claims he has won, to which Kan Ou replies, "That is impossible, this is the end of the line for you. Our Lord's arrow has arrived," just as Shin leaps from his horse to cut down general Fuuki, thus eliminating the Zhao army's main strategist, and putting a close to the first decisive battle.
Mou Bou's Training
Having faced off against general Ri Haku of defense on the first day, Mou Bu's relentless assault seemed to have had no effect. Yet while they were unable to break through Ri Haku's stalwart defense, the enemy's refusal to launch a counter-attack also meant they suffered little to no casualties; making it appear as though Ri Haku could do nothing but defend against their fierce onslaught. This, in turn, served as a morale booster, giving the tens-of-thousands of untrained farmers under Mou Bu's command confidence in their skills and trust in his leadership.
Due to this 'training' as Ou Ki described it, Mou Bu's troops were able to break through Ri Haku's defensive formation on the second day. In truth, Mou Bu was capable of this on day one, but waiting had proven to be the difference before slipping through enemy lines and shattering them. In response, Ri Haku deployed a snake formation that surrounded and engulfed Mou Bu's forces. But this is where the results Mou Bu's training really came into play, as nothing could break the moral he had forged into his soldiers, and they quickly devoured the encircling army.
Pleased in Mou Bu's results, Ou Ki notes that his soldiers will only get stronger, and decides on the fourth day, to devote all his resources to Mou Bu, giving him command of the entire army in an all-out offensive.
Into the Mountains
Having been granted the entirety of Qin's forces, Mou Bu orders an Army-wide charge, completely surprising Zhao forces, and forcing them to withdraw at the risk of being crushed under his might. Abandoning their headquarters, they fall back into the mountains, a battlefield were only small scale unorganized battles can take place.
Given permission to decide whether or not to pursue the Zhao army, Mou Bu chooses to advance, under the condition that he always remain within sight of the HQ. This condition was implemented by Ou Ki as the only means to maintain communication and organization in the rugged terrain, allowing them to send signals through flags.
Hou Ken's Rampage
Sensing Kyou Kai's power as a god summoner, Hou Ken mistakes her for Ou Ki and attacks the Qin encampment the Hi Shin Unit was stationed at in the middle of the night. Faced with rage at the number of his subordinates slain by the demonic commander-in-chief, and the chance of glory should he take his life, Shin orders his unit to attack Hou Ken. But even with the use of tactics and teamwork, his superior martial ability and Kyou Kai's god-like swordsmanship, he was unable to take down Hou Ken, instead of falling unconscious.
The Hi Shin Unit then escorts their captain out of harm's way, fleeing Man Goku's cavalry, who pursue them with the intent of taking revenge for Fuuki's death. The unit then splits up and sacrifices their lives for Shin's sake, allowing the Bi brothers to carry him to safety, but at the cost of Bi Tou's life. The unit then regroups and proceeds in the war for the sake of Shin's dreams and all those who died to support it.
Ri Boku's Trap
Lured into chasing Hou Ken far out of the range of the Qin HQ, the hot-blooded Mou Bu follows him through a mountain gorge, losing the majority of his troops through a number of traps and ambushes, until they find themselves trapped in a bell-shaped inlet.
Back in Qin's capital, Yo Tan Wa visits King Ei Sei, informing him that on their campaign to subjugate the Xiongnu horse tribe, they arrived to find that it was already destroyed, slaughtered by an elite Zhao cavalry of over 200,000 strong; revealing that the enemy has a hidden card in play and that if Qin forces do not defeat Chou Sou's army before they arrive, they will be in trouble.
Having entered the mountains, Ou Ki's personal army regroups with the Hi Shin Unit and follows Chou Sou's HQ into the bell as well, where it appears they now have the advantage with Chou Sou's and Hou Ken's united forces pressed against the back of the bell. Noting the terrain and Chou Sou's decision to draw them into it, Ou Ki already predicts that there is a second army, but believes he will be able to destroy Chou Sou and Hou Ken before it arrives.
Ou Ki directs Tou's cavalry to charge the archers. With the archers effectively destroyed, the infantry is sent to charge the Zhao left defensive flank, but then turn mid-charge to assault the Zhao HQ. This only serves as a diversion meant to scatter Zhao ranks, allowing Ou Ki to enter the fray and crush their HQ himself.
Ou Ki makes great progress until Hou ken engages him in single combat. Yet even in the duel he has the upper hand, and just when he is about to strike down Hou Ken and bring an end to the war, Ri Boku's cavalry arrives, throwing Ou Ki off balance.
Ou Ki Falls
Refusing to leave Ou Ki's defeat to chance, Gi Ka of the Ten Bows of China throws away his honor to interfere with Hou Ken's duel. Noticing Gi Ka's intentions, Shin rides up to stop him but is halted by his escort just long enough for him to release an arrow into Ou Ki's back. While not fatal, this arrow was just enough to cripple Ou Ki's power, allowing Hou Ken to deliver the final blow, piercing Ou Ki's chest with his glaive.
Avenging Ou Ki, Shin cuts down Gi Ki, before hopping onto Ou Ki's horse, intending to get the mortally wounded general out of there at all cost. Enraged, Ou Ki's army fights with everything they've got, refusing to let the Zhao army obtain and desecrate their beloved leader's body. Tou defeats Chou Sou, and through the combined efforts of Heki, who had just arrived at the battlefield, and Mou Bu, who was stricken by grief and rage, blaming himself for Ou Ki's death; they cut a path through the Ri Boku Army to freedom. Noting how dangerous Ou Ki's army has become with the fall of their leader, Ri Boku decides not to pursue, instead of withdrawing his troops, as they had achieved what they came for; Ou Ki's death.
Before Ou Ki dies, he passes on his glaive on to Shin, thus acknowledging the young boy's potential and passing on his will.
- Due to his achievements in this war, Shin is promoted to 300-Man Commander and the Hi Shin Unit is promoted to a 300-Man unit.
- Ri Boku/Li Mu and Kaine/Hai Yin are introduced and make their first appearance in the series.