|Keiyou Campaign Arc|
|Starting Date||January 25, 2007|
|Ending Date||July 26, 2007|
|Number of Chapter||26|
← Sei Kyou's Rebellion Arc
Escape from Zhao Arc →
Keiyou Campaign Arc is the 2nd story arc of the Kingdom manga.
Forming an Army
Joining the fourth of six armies marching west to Keiyou, Shin entered his first campaign as a lowly foot soldier. Pausing in route, they were then directed to organize into "GO"s, a system in which four men and a squad leader travel, bunk, and fight together. Often sharing the same fate, the quality of a GO's members was crucial to its survival and success on the field of battle.
Regarded as weak by the other soldiers, he was forced to group up with the remaining outcast, including the man considered the weakest squad leader; Taku Kei, the Bi Brothers, Bi Tou, and Bi Hei, from his village; and the short, cloaked, mysterious swordsman Kyou Kai. On the march, he is reunited with Heki, who has entered the war as a 1000-man Commander.
Originally intending to head to Gan Castle, where they would be led by General Koku Gou, they are instead rerouted to Asui to join the 1st and 2nd army, after Gan Castle is captured by Wei troops; its army massacred and Koku Gou slain. But before they arrive, their destination is altered once more, this time to Dakan Plains, where the Commander-in-Chief Duke Hyou had decided to meet Wei troops head-on. By the time the battlefield is in sight, fierce combat has already commenced.
Before entering the fray, they were counted off into thousand man squads, in which Shin's GO was placed under the command of Baku Koshin.
Once in position, the infantry was ordered to charge straight into enemy lines, who countered by drawing their pikemen forward to skewer the advancing foot soldiers. Leaping over enemy lines as he had done at Crimson Turtle Gate, he cuts them down from behind, creating a break his troops can push through.
Their progress is soon halted, however, when Wei chariots sweep through their ranks, rapidly cutting them down. Surviving the first wave, Kyou Kai suggested they use the dead bodies and shields to build ramparts to divert the chariots. Hearing this, a number of other squads joined in, managing to build a total of three ramparts just in time to successfully stay off the following wave. Now safe behind their barricades, Kyou Kai suggested it was time to launch a counter-attack.
Drawing a javelin from one of the corpses, Shin took out the driver of an incoming chariot, causing it to flip and send its rider's flying. He then stole a surviving horse and rode out to meet the chariots head-on. Targeting their wheels, he rammed javelins between their spokes to take them out one at a time. Passing scattered survivors, he directed them to regroup at his ramparts, thus saving the 4th army from near destruction.
Unaware of Shin's acts and concerned for the lives of the 4th army's infantry, Heki suggested they send out the Cavalry to repel the chariots. Baku Koshin refused, however, stating that the order had yet to be given. He Ki argues that the infantry's lives will be thrown away for nothing, and Baku rebukes him asking if he came to win a war or protect men, claiming that the men's lives were not lost in vain, but as sacrifices for victory, expressing his complete faith in Duke Hyou.
Receiving a report of the fourth armies' survival, Duke Hyou finally makes his move, ordering the cavalry to charge and take the hill. The cavalry ride in just in time to save the fragile army from the bulk of Wei's infantry.
Taking the Hill
Having come to the infantry's rescue, Baku Koshin doesn't give them a moment's rest. Ordering them to follow close behind, his cavalry uses a wedge formation to cut a path through enemy lines. But the infantry is not able to keep up with the superior speed of his cavalry, quickly falling behind. Determined to keep his squad alive, Shin continues to fight at their side, despite now being mounted.
Breaking through the enemy lines, at last, Baku had his troops regroup, surprised to see that Shin and company had survived. Their ranks severely diminished, Baku decides to abandon the infantry and push on, calling Shin to join his cavalry. Kyou Kai assured him that she will take care of their squad, encouraging him to go on.
With only the HQ's defense troops between them and General Kyuu Gen, Kyuu is forced to draw out his last card, an archer skilled enough to be named among the Ten Bows of China, Kou Rigen. Thinning out most of the remaining cavalry, he then lands and arrow in Baku's chest, but fails to kill him. Riding on ahead, Shin shields the heavily wounded Baku, deflecting the arrows with his sword. Switching his focus to Shin, Kou releases an arrow into the head of Shin's horse, launching him from it's back. But Shin uses this propulsion to his advantage, cutting down Kou as he lands, and thus eliminating the last obstacle between them and Kyuu.
On the verge of death, Baku Koshin engages Kyuu in a duel, and his chest is pierced once more, this time by Kyuu's blade. Before dying, however, he used his proximity to return the favor, landing a fatal thrust of his own, as his sword slips through the soft of Kyuu's neck.
Lacking the numbers to cut back through the way they came, they were left with only one choice, to go down the other side of the hill. But to their dismay, this path had been cut off by Wei Supreme Commander Go Kei's army, which was believed to have been stationed on the hill further back, was now on the move.
Struggling to regroup with the remains of Baku's unit, climbing the hill was proving impossible for Heki's troops. But just as things were looking their worst, Ou Ki arrived. Noting the strict penalty for interfering in a war without a summons, Ou Ki claimed he merely wanted to watch the battle, stating that the hill on which Baku's unit was trapped would be the perfect spot and that he would simply kill whoever got in his way. Merging with Ou Ki's army, Heki's troops quickly surged to the peak.
Duke Hyou's Charge
With their safety now secured, Ou Ki peers down from their vista to watch the Go Kei army's advance, asking Shin who he believes will win, Go Kei's strategic genius, or the Duke with his instinct; claiming that the struggle between the two principals is "...an eternal theme among generals."
Out of nowhere, Duke Hyou's cavalry appears, charging straight towards the center of Go Kei's formation, drawing Ou Ki to claim that "War belongs to generals". Go Kei changes his formation to counter Hyou, but the Duke's troops easily smash through it with the enhanced moral that comes from the general leading the charge himself. These forces Go Kei to call upon Ma Ki and Shu Ki, two head hunters proficient in the art of general slaying.
Having misunderstood Ou Ki's statement to mean the efforts and struggles of each soldier are of no consequence, an angered Heki leads a charge down the hill to assist Duke Hyou and prove that war is won by more than just generals. Shin asks the general for a horse and rides down to join He Ki's Cavalry.
To counter Hyou's charge, Go Kei clears the area on Hyou's left and right flanks to make room for his chariot squads, thereby capturing the duke's troops in a pincer, and slowly dwindling their numbers. Determined to reach the Duke in time, Heki targets only the weakest soldiers to quickly cut a path through their ranks. He then comes alongside the chariots to the Duke's left, thus creating a pincer of their own, and freeing the Duke.
Shin rides ahead to engage what he senses to be 'strong enemies' and ends up dueling the Ki brothers, cutting down Ma Ki just before Hyou arrives to kill Shu. Eager for blood, General Go Kei then decides to duel Duke Hyou but is slain, thus putting an end to the war.
- For his achievements in this war, Shin is promoted from foot soldier to 100-Man Commander, skipping two ranks in succession.