Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 18

Chapter 18: Zhu Di understands Marketing and Public Relations

Zhu Di did not stay long in the Xu family, as he hastily left without even having a meal due to Xu Huizu’s indifferent attitude. This incident left Xu Zengshou somewhat dissatisfied with Xu Huizu

After Zhu Di left, Xu Zengshou returned to his room and looked directly at Xu Huizu, asking, “Elder brother, brother-in-law is our family, can’t you treat him well?”

Xu Huizu coldly stared at Xu Zengshou and said, “Remember this, you must not get too close to the King of Yan!”

“Why? Are we not even allowed to interact with our own family members?” Xu Zengshou asked discontentedly.

Xu Huizu shook his head and sternly warned, “Don’t you know that he refused to bow at the court today? If it wasn’t for the pressure from the emperor, do you think he would have bowed? If it wasn’t for the emperor’s rearrangement of the defense in Beiping Prefecture, do you think he would have bowed? Remember this, his ambition is enough to bring disaster upon the Xu family!”

Xu Zengshou, seeing Xu Huizu becoming more agitated as he spoke, quickly lowered his head and listened to the admonition. He then said, “Elder brother is right, I will follow your arrangements.”

Xu Huizu, knowing that Xu Zengshou had always been close to Zhu Di, saw that he had taken the warning seriously and didn’t say anything further.

Nowadays, Xu Huizu no longer has much energy to manage the Xu family because the new military policy is steadily progressing. This is the most crucial matter for Xu Huizu to establish himself in the court and gain the recognition of Zhu Yunwen.

As long as the new military policy is successfully implemented, Xu Huizu believes that even if Zhu Di or the nine border kings join forces, they would not be a match for the Capital army.

From ancient times to the Ming Dynasty, soldiers only served for the sake of receiving pay and rations from the emperor. In other words, they were merely fighting to survive.

But things are different now!

These soldiers will possess unwavering beliefs and a noble faith in protecting and defending the Great Ming Empire.

They are the most formidable soldiers in the hands of Zhu Yunwen. They will burn themselves for the future of the empire, even if it means turning into bricks and tiles!

“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu highlights the six aspects: “as swift as the wind, as gentle as the forest, as fierce as fire, as immovable as a mountain, as elusive as a shadow, and as sudden as thunder.” However, it primarily emphasizes the soldiers’ physical qualities such as speed, bravery, loyalty, and uniformity, rather than placing a significant emphasis on their thoughts and mindset.

Zhu Yunwen creatively incorporated ideological development and introduced a series of innovative methods for training new soldiers, which surprised Xu Huizu. After undergoing the training, everyone was dripping with sweat, indicating that although the training content was simple, it was extremely physically demanding.

Not only that, but Zhu Yunwen also ordered the improvement of the food for the Capital Garrison and established a department called “Capital Garrison Family Affairs Bureau,” specifically responsible for managing the affairs of the families of capital garrison soldiers.

If a soldier or their family member fell seriously ill, the emperor would provide fifty percent of the medical expenses.

If a soldier’s family member is assaulted by a landlord, or if their land is occupied, or if they get involved in a lawsuit, there’s no need to panic. They can directly find the Capital Garrison Family Affairs Bureau, and the bureau will take responsibility for handling the matter.

If the Capital Garrison Family Affairs Bureau is unable to resolve the issue, it can be escalated to Five Army Commandery.

If even the Five Army Commandery cannot handle the situation, it can be reported to the emperor through a formal report.

In summary, soldiers are the soldiers of the emperor, the soldiers of the Ming Empire. The families of the soldiers should enjoy the benefits and honor that come with their connection to the army.

Even if a soldier dies on the battlefield, the empire will provide generous compensation. In addition to a one-time payment of twenty taels of silver or twenty stones of rice, a continuous subsidy will be given for a period of ten years. Every year, the soldier’s family will receive a subsidy of five taels of silver or five stones of rice.

Such a system naturally encountered resistance from the Ministry of Revenue. After all, compared to the previous system where the family of a deceased soldier received a one-time payment of thirty-six taels of silver or thirty-six stone of rice, the subsequent expenses were essentially negligible.

It is unknown what methods the emperor used to convince Huang Zicheng and others to accept this new system.

Nowadays, almost every soldier in the Capital garrison is willing to risk their lives for Zhu Yunwen. If Zhu Di lacks foresight and truly harbors ulterior motives, his fate will be extremely tragic.

Xu Hui understands the power’s new military policy, which is why he is more concerned about Zhu Di. His coldness towards Zhu Di is not only a warning to him but also a display of loyalty to Zhu Yunwen.

Currently, Zhu Yunwen has clearly changed his initial attitude and trusts Xu Huizu more. In the past month alone, Xu Huizu has been summoned to the palace more than ten times, while the Duke of Cao, Li Jinglong, hasn’t been summoned once.

Even the new military policy did not involve Li Jinglong.

The implications behind this are something Xu Hui can still comprehend.

Just as Xu Hui was lost in thought, the door was pushed open and Xu Miaojin hurriedly entered the room. She called out to Xu Huizu, “Elder brother, where is my big brother-in-law?”

Xu Huizu frowned as he looked at his younger sister and said, “Why did you come back home instead of searching for talents at the Imperial Academy?”

Xu Miaojin rubbed her temples and replied, “Finding talented individuals is extremely difficult. Up until now, I haven’t found a single person. When I heard that my big brother-in-law had returned, I wanted to seek his advice and ask him what kind of scholar is considered talented. Where is he?”

“He has gone back,” replied Xu Hui.

Xu Hui responded casually.

Xu Miaojin glanced at the sun. It was lunchtime, so why did her big brother-in-law go back already? Could it be that we are short of food? That couldn’t be right. After all, elder brother was Duke of Wei and received a substantial income every year…

“The King of Yan has been feeling a bit weary lately, so he went back early to rest. Didn’t you want someone to give you advice, I can give you advice.”

Xu Huizu felt somewhat frustrated. His sister had gone to the Imperial Academy, but despite not causing any trouble, she hadn’t fulfilled the task assigned to her by Zhu Yunwen. Not only could she not find ten talented individuals, she couldn’t even find one.

There was no one willing to accept Xu Miaojin’s test.

The scholars at the Imperial Academy carried arrogance and prejudice deep in their bones. When they saw that the person assessing them was a female official, they either avoided her or pretended to be ignorant when questioned. No matter how she tried to test them, they simply ignored her.

This made it extremely difficult for Xu Miaojin to make any progress. In desperation, she sought help from Xu Huizu for some advice, but Xu Huizu always said that she had to rely on her own wisdom.

Xu Miaojin rolled her eyes in frustration. If she had the wisdom, why would she need to seek his help?

During this challenging time, when Xu Miaojin heard that her brother-in-law Zhu Di had returned, she hurried back to seek his advice, only to be disappointed.

Xu Hui had no solution and could only ask Xu Miaojin, “What kind of person did the Emperor ask you to find?”

“Talented individuals,” Xu Miaojin replied without hesitation.

“Then what is considered talented?” Xu Hui asked.

Xu Miaojin suddenly felt bewildered.

Indeed, what is considered talented?

Xu Hui sighed and said, “In the book ‘Discussive Weighing: Annoyances and Vexations[1]Lunheng 論衡 “Discussive Weighing” is a philosophical treatise written by the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220) scholar Wang Chong 王充.,’ it is mentioned that ‘the superiority or inferiority of talents cannot be judged equally.’ In ‘Baopuzi[2]The Baopuzi 抱朴子 “Master embracing simplicity”, occasionally written 抱樸子, is a Daoist treatise written by the Jin period 晉 (265-420) … Continue reading: The Rusticating People,’ it states ‘praise the virtuous and value morality, delight in nurturing talented individuals.’ And in ‘Shitong[3]Shitong 史通 “All about historiography” is one of China’s oldest books containing a systematic critique to historiography. It was written by … Continue reading: Narrative,’ it says, ‘Hence, we know that talents differ, their distances like this, how can we compare their merits, can they be of the same generation?’ From this, it can be seen that talented individuals refer to those who possess abilities and knowledge.”

“Those who can enter the Imperial Academy for study do have some knowledge. But if we look at the court as a whole, who doesn’t possess knowledge? The question is, having knowledge, do they also have abilities and the capability to accomplish things?”

“When faced with a problem, a talented individual is someone who can identify the root cause, find solutions, and prevent similar issues from occurring again. On the other hand, those who can only talk about the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, benevolence, righteousness, and morality without offering any practical solutions are mediocre talents!”

“Since you’re looking for talented individuals, I’ll give you two suggestions. The first one is…”

Upon hearing Xu Huizu’s words, Xu Miaojin’s eyes widened, nodding repeatedly, rubbing her hands together in excitement. She exclaimed, “I knew it, brother, you’re always the best to me!”

Xu Huizu smiled and sent Xu Miaojin back to the Imperial Academy. He himself went to the vital military area of the Capital garrison, cooperating with Tie Xuan, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of War, to implement various policies and promote new training methods for the soldiers.

Meanwhile, Zhu Di, after leaving the King of Zhongshan’s residence, didn’t return to the King of Yan’s mansion. Instead, he visited other vassal king’s mansions, and he spend more than ten days either reconnecting with the kings or visiting nobles and ministers, such as Duke of Cao, Li Jinglong, and Marquis of Wu Ding, Guo Ying.

Some people received him earnestly, treating him with great respect and giving him ample face.

Some people, on the other hand, dealt with him in a perfunctory manner, being cautious and merely going through the motions.

Nevertheless, Zhu Di treated everyone with courtesy.

What Zhu Di wanted was not just to be a guest, but rather, public opinion!

Prior to this, the people in Nanjing had heard rumors that Zhu Di “refused to pay respects to the Emperor” and “violated the rites of a vassal,” but it was only hearsay. Now, they saw Zhu Di walking through the streets, visiting old friends, receiving lavish hospitality, and displaying great affability. The previous rumors were completely shattered.

“If the King of Yan shows such courtesy to his guests, how can he possibly refuse to pay respects to the Emperor?”

“There must be malicious individuals spreading false accusations against the King of Yan.”

“The King of Yan is a man of loyalty and filial piety. He would never do such a thing.”

As a result, public opinion shifted, and the voices praising Zhu Di grew louder.

Zhu Yunwen sitting in the Wuying Hall, listened to Liu Changge’s report and couldn’t help but smile with delight.

He didn’t expect that Zhu Di was someone who understood self-promotion, self-marketing, and the creation of public opinion to expand his influence.

It must be said that Zhu Di’s public relations and marketing skills were quite effective.

Zhu Yunwen even received numerous memorial letters praising Zhu Di. Whether explicitly or implicitly, they all conveyed a message to Zhu Yunwen:

Zhu Di is the King of Yan. Although he didn’t give you a face during court sessions, don’t be angry. After all, the King of Yan is the leader of all the Kings, the supreme commander in the north. You must take action against him, for any disturbance caused by such an action would be catastrophic…

Among these memorials, some are from distinguished military generals, while others are from officials of lower ranks.

With intricate connections and intertwined roots, upon closer examination, without exception, they are all related to Zhu Di and share an extraordinary relationship.

“Has the Prince of Yan visited the King of Qiyang’s residence again?” 

Emperor Zhu Yuncheng squinted his eyes and asked.

Liu Changge nodded slightly and reported, “Yes.”

Zhu Yunwen lightly tapped the table and suddenly remembered something. He pulled out a memorial from the table and said softly, “The Governor of Guangdong has reported that the sea pirates are rampant and have repeatedly attacked various places in Guangzhou. This is indeed a major issue.”

Liu Changge remained silent.

Zhu Yunwen pointed to the memorials praising Zhu Di and said to Liu Changge, “Compile a list of names for me. I have use for it.”

Liu Changge took the memorial and left.

August 1st.

Zhu Yunwen presided over the court and presented this seemingly insignificant memorial from Guangzhou. He addressed the ministers, saying, “Guangzhou has reported that there are numerous sea pirates in Yangjiang, Guanghai, Xinning, Wuchuan, Suixi, and other places. They are disturbing our territory and killing our people. Guangzhou has petitioned for assistance. I would like to hear the opinions of the ministers. Whom should we send to quell the unrest?”

Dear Readers, Sproutling here translating Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen, If you have enjoyed my translation and would like to show your support. Please consider donate to my Ko-Fi (Click here) page. Your help mean so much to me, Thank you in advance!


1 Lunheng 論衡 “Discussive Weighing” is a philosophical treatise written by the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220) scholar Wang Chong 王充.
2 The Baopuzi 抱朴子 “Master embracing simplicity”, occasionally written 抱樸子, is a Daoist treatise written by the Jin period 晉 (265-420) master Ge Hong 葛洪.
3 Shitong 史通 “All about historiography” is one of China’s oldest books containing a systematic critique to historiography. It was written by the Tang-period 唐 (618-907) scholar Liu Zhiji 劉知幾 (661-721), is 20-juan long and was finished in 710.

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