The rebels and the Princess made fast tracks to the northwestern seaboard, reaching the coast in less than two days. Soon they were looking out at swelling waves near the entry of a quiet coastal port town.
“Do they know we are coming?” asked the Princess.
“We’ve sent word on ahead,” replied the rebel leader. “We need to hurry though, before the Prime Minister’s messengers arrive and close the port.” And indeed, as the leader spoke the Princess could see two cavalcades bearing the insignia of the King coming down the steep mountain pass from which they had descended just the previous evening.
The rebels moved quickly through the town, stopping only to purchase what provisions they could find before making their way to the double-masted panokseon that was to take them onwards. A bundle of copper coins passed from the rebel leader’s hand to the ship captain, and then they were hustling on board, loading their supplies with the help of the ship’s crew and some foreign sailors with strange accents. The Princess tried to help but felt like she was mostly in the way and was soon shooed towards the front of the ship, where she remained as the other rebels took positions as oarsmen and pushed the boat away from the port and its moorings. As the canvas sails unfurled, a collective cheer went up from the rebels, lingering in the air of their home country. The Princess could not look away from the small fishing villages dotting the green coast and the overlapping shadows of mountains rising up behind, in the land she’d known all her life.
“Princess,” came a voice. The Princess turned around and looked through a screen of filmy tears at the rebel leader’s rugged features. “Do not look to the past. The future lies ahead.” He nodded in the other direction, out to sea.
Somewhat unwillingly, the Princess swivelled around. There, in the distance, was a gray land mass covered in fog.
“We will find aid there,” said the young man, with a satisfied expression. “And some sympathy for our cause.”
“How do you know they will support us? You know my father has diplomatic relations with all of our neighbors.”
“The Great Northern Empire encourages fighting in Goguryeo. They want to see a political challenge to the throne and our willing to fund it.”
The Princess’s face split with displeasure. “You are going to those who would divide us?” For a moment she had a strong urge to take a running leap off the boat and swim back to Goguryeo.
“Not so fast, Princess. Politics is a game – we do what we need to attain our ultimate goal. The Northern Empire will help us, at this stage, for those reasons. They don’t need to know that they are ultimately helping to build a stronger Goguryeo.”
“It feels like treachery to me,” she commented.
“You are a rebel now, Princess. Treachery is your daily existence.”
The Princess watched the foreign sailors smacking on some kind of greasy meat as they energized themselves for the journey ahead. Resignedly she closed her eyes. She couldn’t change the path they were on but neither would she let her countryfolk descend into war, aided by the avaricious intents of their foreign enemies. As her mind ran over the options, she began to feel very alone.
[To be continued, of course! For past installments of ‘The Princess & the Rebel saga,’ click here]
- 1 Asian pear
- 2-3 scallions (reserve some for garnish)
- ½ onion
- 1 tb ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tb coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tb ACV
- 1-2 tb coconut sugar (optional, can sub honey or other sweetener)
- 2 tb olive or avocado oil
- 2 pounds pork belly
- avocado oil for cooking
- water for braise
- sea salt
- Food process the marinade ingredients into a liquid-y paste.
- Cut pork belly into bite-sized pieces and cover with marinade (can add a couple tablespoons of water if needed to fully cover the pork belly). Leave to marinate for a few hours.
- Remove pork belly and pat dry (save marinade for use in the braise). Sear on high heat to brown pieces on both sides.
- Transfer to a pot, add leftover marinade, and 2-3 cups of water. Cook on medium heat for 1 - 1.5 hours, until pork belly is tender. Season with additional salt if needed and serve.
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.