They travelled fast through the long night. It was their best opportunity to put as much space as possible between them and the palace before the King and the others had awoken from their opium-induced stupor, in time to give orders for the pursuit. They had fled through the system of underground tunnels, of which the rebel leader seemed to have intimate knowledge, until they were outside the palace walls, where horses and a cadre of their supporters from the nearest village awaited them with fresh supplies. This time they headed north, the opposite direction from the night of the Princess’s kidnapping.
The Princess was, of course, fully a part of their escape this time. They’d had no time to congratulate her on sedating the entire royal court and freeing the rebel leader from the palace jail, but the proud looks the rebel leader would shoot her from time to time, and the whispers of admiration from the others were commendation enough. The Princess warmed to the excitement of their flight, never feeling more free than when she shed her ceremonial hanbok in one of the underground tunnels, leaving her only with the practical peasant wear she’d donned underneath.
At dawn, they took their first break to water the horses at an overlook in the snow-covered northern mountain forests. Word had reached them from contacts in their village network that all of the imperial army had been roused to accost them. The King and the Prime Minister were rallying for a battle, vowing not to stop until every rebel vermin had been extinguished. They’d made no comment about the Princess’s disappearance, and the Princess was awash with simultaneous feelings of pride and fear that she might now very well be considered one of those rebel vermin.
They ate quickly while the horses were resting, sharing the provisions the Princess had taken from the kimchi pot in the palace storage rooms – a hearty noodle dish, beef patties, and dumplings, the same dishes she had laced with opium powder for the palace banquet, after reserving safe portions for their journey. The Princess ate well, with the others, remembering with amusement the night when she had refused the rebel leader’s pancake offering. How very different things were now.
The rebel leader had eaten little, and was standing on the edge of the outer cliff, gazing out to the edge of the panorama, where the first smoke chimneys from His Majesty’s encamped troops could be seen.
“Come,” he ordered. “We must make it to the northern passage before nightfall. There a boat will await us to take us to safe harbor.”
The Princess started. “We are leaving Goguryeo?”
The rebel leader nodded his head once, sharply. “They will scour the entire country for us. It will be safer for every village if we are gone.”
“But…we will return?”
The rebel leader turned away and didn’t answer. For the first time since their adventure had begun, the Princess felt doubt creep into her mind.
[To be continued, of course! For past installments of ‘The Princess & the Rebel saga,’ click here]
- 1 pound of pre-cooked bulgogi or Korean bbq meat (omit for V)
- ½ bag sweet potato/japchae noodles (~4 oz)
- 4 carrots
- 8 shiitake mushrooms (fresh or dried; if dried, soak/rehydrate before cooking)
- 1 medium-large onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 tb minced ginger
- 1 bunch of spinach or watercress
- 3 scallions/green onions
- 1 tb coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tb lime/lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 5-6 tb avocado oil
- 1 tb coconut sugar (optional)
- 2 tsps sesame oil (optional, omit for AIP)
- Add japchae noodles to a big pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook for ~10 minutes, until noodles are tender. Drain and set aside.
- Clean, chop, and cook spinach/watercress in a tb of oil, or blanch and put in ice bath to maintain green color.
- Slice onion, garlic, scallions, mushrooms, and carrots in long, lengthwise pieces (or julienne them using a mandolin). Sauté veggies (start with mushrooms to brown, then carrots because they take longer) in a couple tablespoons of oil with minced ginger until carrots are softened.
- Mix cooked vegetables with watercress and noodles in a big bowl. Season with aminos/sea salt, acid, and a couple more tbs of oil. Finish with chopped scallions.
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.