Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 15

Chapter 15: Zhu Yunwen’s Transfer Order

Li Zengzhi is the second son of the King of Qiyang, Li Wenzhong, and Li Wenzhong is also a nephew of Zhu Yuanzhang. From this family relationship, Li Wenzhong and Zhu Di can be considered first cousins.

Therefore, Li Jinglong and Li Zengzhi need to address Zhu Di as their paternal uncle.

In his youth, Zhu Di studied warfare under the guidance of Li Wenzhong, establishing a close relationship with both Li Jinglong and Li Zengzhi.

Now, Zhu Di is traveling from Beiping to the capital, Jinling[1]TL’s note: The Capital of the Ming dynasty in the early era is Nanjing or Jinling, and encountering “family” in the city of Yangzhou naturally brings him joy. In addition, Li Zengzhi, being competent and efficient, makes arrangements for Zhu Di and his entourage to enter Yangzhou, He directly rented an entire tavern and ordered soldiers to guard it, prohibiting anyone from approaching.

After three rounds of drinking, Li Zengzhi dismisses those around him, and Zhu Di remains calm, raising his hand to signal Qiu Fu and others to also leave the room.

Seeing that there were only themselves in the room, Li Zengzhi felt relieved. He raised his cup and toasted Zhu Di, saying, “Uncle, we are family, so there’s no need for formalities.”

Zhu Di nodded silently.

Li Zengzhi asked in a low voice, “Uncle, to be honest with you, the emperor’s intentions are hard to decipher, some time ago, he established Grand Secretariat, introduced a new military policy, and just recently established the Great Ming Security Bureau. Both the court and the people are filled with anxiety.”

“Oh? What happened?” Zhu Di looked at Li Zengzhi and asked.

Regarding Zhu Yunwen’s methods, Zhu Di has heard about them and supports them.

Even if he ascends to the throne, it is necessary to have a group of capable individuals to handle important tasks on his behalf. Otherwise, the emperor would have to directly manage the court, and review every matter, and it would be exhausting and burdensome.

Zhu Di considers the establishment of the Grand Secretariat to be a brilliant strategy.

As for the military reforms and the establishment of the Great Ming Security Bureau, Zhu Di finds them acceptable and does not believe that these measures would cause widespread anxiety among the people.

Li Zengzhi sighed and said, “Nowadays, the central power of the court is concentrated in the Six Ministries and the Grand Secretariat. Officials can only see the emperor twice a month, and even if they submit memorials or impeach someone, they may be detained by the Grand Secretariat. If this continues, the sovereignty of the Ming Dynasty will become the sovereignty of the Grand Secretariat.”

Zhu Di calmly sipped his wine.

Zhu Di was well aware of the extent of power held by the Grand Secretariat. He considered Li Zengzhi’s words to be exaggerated.

Li Zengzhi continued, “The implementation of the New Military Policy requires the reduction of 100,000 soldiers, and among these 100,000, many of them are from our noble ranks. Especially some of the commanding officers in the guards who have close ties with us, they have been stripped of their official positions and forced to leave the capital garrison along with their comrades.”

“These comrades have come to our doorstep. Should we intervene or not? If we intervene, we can’t manage all of them, and we can’t go against the emperor’s will. If we don’t intervene, how can we bear to see them wandering the streets as former comrades?”

“The emperor is only focused on implementing the New Military Policy, but it has shaken the foundation of the capital garrison. It is a sign of chaos. Moreover, this Great Ming Security Bureau is clearly just another name for the Jinyiwei. It hasn’t been long since the emperor took over the reins of power, yet he has already violated the intentions of the founding emperor by reinstating the Jinyiwei. It seems that the emperor hasn’t truly grasped the governing strategies of the founding emperor.”

Zhu Di looked at Li Zengzhi and the words “lack of understanding of the founding emperor’s governing strategies” flashed through his mind like a bolt of lightning.

This is a perfect reason!

The founding emperor abolished the position of Chancellor, and Zhu Yunwen established the Grand Secretariat as a replacement.

The founding emperor expanded the capital guards, and Zhu Yunwen downsized them.

The founding emperor abolished the Jinyiwei, and Zhu Yunwen established the Great Ming Security Bureau.

Based on Zhu Yunwen’s recent actions, his style of governance and methods are clearly contrary to those of the founding emperor!

If we use the pretext of “disrespecting the founding emperor and deviating from his governing strategies” to prove that Zhu Yunwen is not a qualified successor to the empire, then when the time comes to raise an army, we can proclaim the slogan of “upholding the founding principles and restoring ancestral systems.” We will let the world know that I, Zhu Di, am the true rightful heir who best understands and can grasp the founding emperor’s governing strategies!

Li Zengzhi noticed the gleam in Zhu Di’s eyes, the unspoken desire he held. He lightly tapped his finger on the table and said, “Uncle, we are family.”

Li Zengzhi deliberately emphasized the word “we,” speaking slowly and exchanging meaningful glances, conveying a hidden meaning.

Zhu Di, being an intelligent person, understands the underlying message in Li Zengzhi’s words.

Li Zengzhi was telling Zhu Di that if Zhu Di had the intention, they would be his strength to help him achieve greatness.

Zhu Di put down his wine cup and chuckled, “The recent days of traveling have indeed made me weary. Drinking too much now seems to overwhelm me.”

“Changing the wine is not difficult at all. It only requires…” Li Zengzhi raised an eyebrow, picked up a nearby wine jug, and casually poured it onto the ground. He looked at Zhu Di and slowly said, “Since the wine is spilled, we can only bring in new wine.”

Zhu Di narrowed his eyes, listening to the sound of the wine spilling onto the ground, which seemed to resemble the neighing of a thousand horses. He composed himself and said, “When the wine is spilled, there are always people who will set it right.”

Li Zengzhi stared at Zhu Di and softly asked, “Under the blade of the founding emperor, many souls perished, but the King of Yan stands unchallenged.”

Zhu Di took the wine jug from Li Zengzhi, poured himself a cup, and drank it in one gulp. He said, “I wonder if the wind is strong in the capital. If the weather is good, I’d like to take a walk on Purple Mountain[2]Purple Mountain or Zijin Shan (Chinese: 紫金山; pinyin: Zǐjīn Shān; lit. ‘Purple-Gold Mountain’) is located on the eastern side … Continue reading.”

Li Zengzhi nodded solemnly and said, “Your Highness, I’m sure everything will go as you wish.”

After this conversation, Li Zengzhi understood Zhu Di’s thoughts. Zhu Di wasn’t without thought of betrayal, but he had yet to make up his mind. On one hand, he worried about the imperial army besieging him, and on the other hand, he feared that Zhu Yunwen would suddenly act against him in the capital.

However, thanks to Zhu Yuanzhang, Most of the founding heroes of the Ming Dynasty, especially the military commanders, have been largely exterminated. Among the few remaining leaders capable of commanding the army in Ming, there were only a handful, including the King of Yan Zhu Di and the King of Ning Zhu Quan.

And the other, Li Zengzhi, around Ming Dynasty, was just mediocre.

Zhu Di understood Li Zengzhi’s words and recognized them as an opportunity. However, he was well aware that along with opportunities came great challenges.

Zhu Yunwen was the emperor, and he had the power to mobilize the entire nation’s forces to besiege Zhu Di. The military strength at his disposal was not limited to a mere million troops.

Also, Zhu Yunwen is in Nanjing, his own army is in Beiping, separated by over two thousand miles. Even if Zhu Yunwen doesn’t send a single soldier, it would still take him at least a month to travel there, and if we consider logistics and supplies, it could take several months.

Even if Zhu Yunwen lacks capable generals, his vast army is enough to make Zhu Di extremely cautious. He needs to carefully consider his options and think twice. If Zhu Yunwen becomes ruthless or if he makes a wrong decision, he could easily be eliminated.

Zhu Di doesn’t want to die.

Rebellion comes with great rewards, but they also come with great risks.

If successful, He could reign over the world.

If unsuccessful, He could meet his demise.

After seeing Zhu Di off to rest, Li Zengzhi bids farewell at the door with a smile, saying, “Uncle, we’ll meet again in the capital.”

Zhu Di in a somewhat drunken state, lies on his bed, contemplating his next move.

The distance between Yangzhou Prefecture and the capital is less than 200 miles. If traveling on horseback, one can reach the capital tomorrow evening. Zhu Di is curious about how Zhu Yunwen will act in this situation.

But the current Zhu Yunwen seems different from the Zhu Yunwen he used to know.

He no longer appears as the benevolent and hesitating person he once was. Instead, he possesses a decisive and ruthless determination, as well as a decisive power of strategic thinking.

What surprises Zhu Di, even more, is that his nephew, Zhu Yunwen, seems to have great insights and exhibits the qualities of a wise ruler when it comes to governing the country.

Unable to unravel his own confusion, Zhu Di can only fall into a drowsy sleep while contemplating.

In the magnificent palace illuminated by bright lights, Zhu Yunwen is listening to the report of Liu Changge, the first commander of the Great Ming Security Bureau.

Liu Changge rose from humble beginnings and experienced several major battles. He showed great bravery during the “Desert Expedition” led by Lan Yu and was later selected by Zhu Yuanzhang to join the Imperial Guards.

This obscure figure in history, whose name cannot be found, ascended to the historical stage because Zhu Yunwen and become head of the Great Ming Security Bureau—the Commanding Officer.

Zhu Yunwen chose Liu Changge not only for his unquestionable loyalty but also for his exceptional abilities. He had a keen understanding of written texts and was highly strategic in his thinking.

He had a remarkable perceptiveness, able to discern the smallest details and predict the outcome of events based on subtle indications.

This is Zhu Yunwen’s assessment of Liu Changge.

Since the establishment of the Great Ming Security Bureau, Liu Changge has devoted himself wholeheartedly. Within a short week, he has selected three thousand skilled individuals from the imperial guards and deployed them both inside and outside the capital to gather intelligence and investigate matters.

Liu Changge reported to Zhu Yunwen, saying, “Li Zengzhi had a secret conversation with the King of Yan for two hours. However, we were unable to ascertain the specific details.”

Zhu Yunwen pondered for a moment and said, “Even if you treat someone well if they harbor ulterior motives, they won’t appreciate it.”

Liu Changge dared not say another word.

Zhu Yunwen smiled lightly and said, “You may leave for now.”

Liu Changge bowed and withdrew.

After contemplating for a while, Zhu Yunwen turned to Shuangxi, who stood by with lowered hands and said, “Instruct the Grand Secretariat to draft an imperial decree appointing Zhang Bing as Beiping’s chief secretary. Ping’an and Sheng Yong as the Commanders of Beiping, with Ping’an in charge of defense affairs in Beiping. Transfer Qu Neng and Xu Kai, the Commanders of Sichuan, to station their troops at Shanhai Pass [3]Shanhai Pass or Shanhaiguan (simplified Chinese: 山海关; traditional Chinese: 山海關; pinyin: Shānhǎi Guān) is one of the major passes in … Continue reading, Kaiping[4]Kaiping (Chinese: 开平), alternately romanized in Cantonese as Hoiping,[a] is a county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. It is … Continue reading, and Linqing[5]Linqing (simplified Chinese: 临清; traditional Chinese: 臨清; pinyin: Línqīng) is a county-level city under the administration of the prefecture-level … Continue reading. Additionally, assign Guo Ying, the Marquis of Wuding, to take charge of Datong[6]Datong is a prefecture-level city in northern Shanxi Province in the People’s Republic of China. It is located in the Datong Basin at an elevation of … Continue reading.”

“Tell Ping’an, Sheng Yong, Qu Neng, and others to treat the soldiers well and ensure that the army obeys the orders of the court. If anyone disobeys, they can enforce military law! Reassign the commanding officers as necessary, and I grant them the authority!”

Shuangxi solemnly remembered these instructions in his mind and hurried to the Grand Secretariat.

On that night, Xie Jin presided over the Grand Secretariat and heard the emperor’s orders, which, though unexpected, were within his expectations.

King of Yan Zhu Di had always been the emperor’s focal point.

Without a doubt!

Xie Jin couldn’t quite grasp Emperor Zhu Yunwen’s intentions. It seemed that the emperor was confident that the other princes wouldn’t pose a threat and focused his attention solely on Zhu Di. However, considering the current situation, it was indeed Zhu Di who posed the greatest threat among the kings.

Xie Jin drafted the edict, and Zhu Yunwen used the imperial seal to validate it. The General Secretariat promptly transmitted the orders throughout the night.

Zhu Yunwen decided to make a preemptive move and observe Zhu Di’s reaction.

Ping An, Sheng Yong, and Qu Neng are all outstanding military commanders who emerged during the Jingnan Rebellion. Zhu Yunwen dispatched all three of them to the north, specifically to keep an eye on Zhu Di, he believe Zhu Di understand what this military threat means.

On the evening of July 17th, Zhu Di arrived at the outskirts of the capital city, but instead of entering the city, he chose to rest outside for the night.

The next morning, Zhu Di’s carriage crossed the river and arrived at the Sanshanmen Wharf. Instead of appearing proud and arrogant, he was dressed in white and wept bitterly, calling out loudly, “Father, your son has come late.”

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1 TL’s note: The Capital of the Ming dynasty in the early era is Nanjing or Jinling
2 Purple Mountain or Zijin Shan (ChinesepinyinZǐjīn Shānlit. ‘Purple-Gold Mountain’) is located on the eastern side of Nanjing in Jiangsu province, China. It is 448.2 m[1] (1467 ft) high. Its peaks are often found enveloped in purple and golden clouds at dawn and dusk, hence its name.
3 Shanhai Pass or Shanhaiguan (simplified Chinese: 山海关; traditional Chinese: 山海關; pinyinShānhǎi Guān) is one of the major passes in the Great Wall of China, being the easternmost stronghold along the Ming Great Wall, and commands the narrowest choke point in the Liaoxi Corridor. It is located in Shanhaiguan DistrictQinhuangdaoHebei province, on the east bank of the Shi River between the Yan Mountains and the Liaodong Bay coast.
4 Kaiping (Chinese: 开平), alternately romanized in Cantonese as Hoiping,[a] is a county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. It is located in the western section of the Pearl River Delta and administered as part of the prefecture-level city of Jiangmen.
5 Linqing (simplified Chinesetraditional Chinese: 臨清; pinyinLínqīng) is a county-level city under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Liaocheng in western Shandong Province, China.
6 Datong is a prefecture-level city in northern Shanxi Province in the People’s Republic of China. It is located in the Datong Basin at an elevation of 1,040 meters (3,410 ft) and borders Inner Mongolia to the north and west and Hebei to the east.

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