Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 22

Chapter 22: I bestow upon you the surname Zheng and the given name He!

Zhu Yunwen looked at Zhu Di and asked, “Is there a eunuch named Zheng He in the King of Yan’s residence?”

“Eunuch?”

Zhu Di was even more confused.

Could the Emperor be pulling his leg?

There is no such person in the entire King of Yan’s residence, how could there be a eunuch?

Zhu Yunwen looked at Zhu Di’s puzzled expression, furrowing his brows. Could it be that Zheng He is not currently by Zhu Di’s side?

This shouldn’t be the case. He himself doesn’t have Zheng He by his side either.

Xu Huizu remained silent, pondering secretly. Who is this Zheng He? What kind of person is he that the Emperor personally inquires about and requests?

Eunuch?

Is the Imperial Palace still in need of eunuchs?

Zhu Yunwen didn’t inquire further. Zhu Di didn’t even say much when requesting Dao Yan, so he wouldn’t say anything about Zheng He either unless he truly didn’t know.

Leaving the study, Zhu Di led Zhu Yunwen towards the back garden. Their conversation became more peaceful, occasionally punctuated by laughter.

In front of the Moon Gate, stood a tall man, approximately two meters in height. When he saw Zhu Yunwen and Zhu Di approaching from afar, he knelt down to the side.

Zhu Yunwen glanced at him and walked into the Moon Gate. However, after taking a few steps, he suddenly stopped and turned to look outside the gate. He asked Zhu Di, “Who is this guard?”

“Ma Sanbao.”

Zhu Di quickly responded.

Zhu Yunwen’s eyes lit up.

Damn it, how could I forget? The name Zheng He is because, during the Jingnan Period, Ma Sanbao provided advice and strategies to Zhu Di in the Battle of Zhengcunba, helping him achieve victory. Later, when Zhu Di became the emperor, he bestowed the surname Zheng and the given name He upon Ma Sanbao.

No wonder I couldn’t find him!

Zhu Yunwen walked back, and Ma Sanbao wanted to kneel and pay his respects but was stopped by Zhu Yunwen, who said, “Stand properly.”

Ma Sanbao looked at Zhu Yunwen, perplexed.

Zhu Yunwen carefully observed Ma Sanbao, with a fair complexion, a clean-shaven chin, a high forehead, cheeks, and cheekbones, distinct eyebrows and eyes, and large ears.

“How long have you been in the King of Yan’s Residence?” Zhu Yunwen asked.

Ma Sanbao’s voice resounded like a bell as he replied, “Reply to Your Majesty, it has been thirteen years.”

“Come, let’s have a chat. Fourth Uncle, Duke of Wei, you don’t need to come over for now.”

Zhu Yunwen patted Ma Sanbao’s shoulder and called out to the surprised Zhu Di and Xu Huizu, signaling them to stay back. He then led Ma Sanbao to a nearby pavilion, gesturing for him to sit down. However, Ma Sanbao was too anxious and remained standing.

“I wonder, Your Majesty…”

“As-salamu alaykum.”

Zhu Yunwen said calmly.

Ma Sanbao’s eyes widened instantly, and he quickly responded, “Wa ʿalaykumu s-salam.”

Zhu Yunwen smiled. It was indeed him.

The dialogue between the two was indeed a form of communication commonly used among Islamic followers.

Zhu Yunwen said, “Peace be upon you,” and Ma Sanbao replied, “May Peace be upon you.”

Although Zhu Yunwen was not particularly interested in Western religions, being a person from future, he had inevitably come into contact with some aspects of Western religious culture. Whether it was the Christian God, Yahweh, or the Islamic Allah, he had some knowledge of them.

In the worst case, you must have at least tried Lanzhou noodles, right?

Lanzhou noodles are mostly operated by Hui ethnic people, who are followers of Islam and Ma Sanbao shares the same faith.”

“Your, Your Majesty…”

Ma Sanbao began to tremble. For how many years had it been? He had never heard a greeting from a follower of Islam. Who would have expected that this sudden greeting would come from the Emperor of the Ming Empire!

Zhu Yunwen looked at Ma Sanbao before him, his heart filled with excitement. He had finally found a commander for his great maritime era!

However, Ma Sanbao’s past was a painful one.

In the seventeenth year of the Hongwu reign, Fu Youde and Lan Yu launched a campaign in Yunnan. At that time, the ten-year-old Ma Sanbao became a captive. Later, he was castrated and entered the palace to serve.

“I am not a follower of Islam, but I have read the Quran,” Emperor Zhu Yunwen said slowly.

Ma Sanbao became excited. He didn’t expect that the Emperor had actually read the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

“Whether Allah is your God or not, I don’t mind. But from now on, I hope you will follow me and remain loyal to me! I will give you the opportunity to voyage, to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca! To fulfill your dreams as a Muslim!” Emperor Zhu Yunwen said sternly.

Ma Sanbao’s breathing became rapid, and his eyes sparkled.

Dreams!

The Emperor supports his dreams!

He can go to sea?

He can go to Mecca?

He can touch the holy stone, and pour out his heart to Allah?

“Are you willing to follow me?” Zhu Yunwen asked.

Ma Sanbao fell to his knees and shouted, “I am willing!”

Zhu Yunwen raised his hand and said, “Rise, for if you are to follow me, your name shall no longer be Ma Sanbao. I grant you the surname Zheng and the name He! You shall enter the Imperial Stables as Seal-holding Eunuch Director!”

“Zheng He!” Ma Sanbao repeated the name and then expressed his gratitude while kneeling, “Thank you, Your Majesty, for bestowing this name upon me!”

Zhu Yunwen burst into laughter, feeling relieved and joyful.

He walked towards Zhu Di and Xu Huizu, saying, “Fourth Uncle, I want this person.”

Zhu Di looked at Ma Sanbao and furrowed his brow. He wondered what had gotten into Zhu Yunwen to snatch his eunuch and bodyguard.

But this time, Zhu Yunwen left no room for negotiation.

The emperor’s want someone, what else he can do, he can only release the person.

Zhu Di reluctantly nodded his head.

Ma Sanbao knelt before Zhu Di and said, “Ma Sanbao is deeply grateful for the care of the King of Yan. I can hardly express my gratitude. I wish the King of Yan prosperity and good health.”

Zhu Di sighed. This bodyguard had earned his trust, but now…

“Fourth Uncle, I have brought Duke of Wei here today because there is something I wish to discuss with you.” Zhu Yunwen said softly.

Zhu Di laughed in an ugly manner, looking at Xu Huizu, wondering what other tricks he had up his sleeve.

Xu Huizu took out a document and handed it to Zhu Di, saying, “This is the policy document of the New Military. It has been implemented in the capital garrison for over a month and has achieved great success. The emperor said that all the military forces in the country belong to the court and should enjoy the same policies, without distinction between internal and external, without distinction between kinship and favoritism.”

Zhu Di took the document and carefully read through it, becoming more and more astonished as he read.

These policies cover logistics, promotions, soldiers themselves, and soldiers’ families, and even include retirement benefits for soldiers!

Any one of these policies is enough to win the hearts of the people!

Once these policies are implemented throughout the Ming Dynasty, all the military forces will undoubtedly be loyal to the court, loyal to Zhu Yunwen!

Who would sacrifice their lives for him anymore in the future?

They will only sacrifice their lives for Zhu Yunwen!

This is not just a policy for the new military, it’s a policy to win over the military!

Soldiers join the army precisely to endure hardships and exchange their labor for a meal, don’t they?

Many people join the military out of necessity, out of livelihood!

But now, once Zhu Yunwen’s new policies for the soldiers spread, being a soldier will no longer be a grueling task, but a satisfying “good job”!

In that case, who will the soldiers be grateful to?

Naturally, it will be Zhu Yunwen, the Jianwen Emperor of the Ming Dynasty!

Even if he raise his arms and shout, even if he break his arm and lose his voice, there are probably very few people willing to join him in rebellion. They might even tie him up and send him straight to Nanjing!

“This… Your Majesty, this policy for the new military, it might consume vast amounts of silver and food. Implementing it could be risky. If we fail to deliver on the promises, won’t it easily lead to mutiny?”

Zhu Di did not allow this policy to be implemented, at least not within his own army!

Otherwise, he wouldn’t have any control over his soldiers!

Zhu Yunwen stood by the pavilion, looking at the nearby lake, and said, “The allocation of silver and food is the responsibility of the Ministry of Revenue. They have discussed it, and they assured me that there won’t be any issues.”

Zhu Di swallowed nervously, glanced at the documents, and continued, “This policy is too generous. It may undermine the soldiers’ willingness to fight to the death. If they become too concerned about preserving their own lives on the battlefield, they may hesitate and become reluctant to advance. What should we do?”

Zhu Yunwen motioned for Liu Changge to bring some stones over, and he said to Zhu Di, “That’s why, in addition to the policy, we need to focus on ideological development. We must make every soldier understand that their battles are fought for the Emperor, for the glory of the Ming Dynasty. Their sacrifices are for the Empire, for this land and its everlasting splendor!”

“Furthermore, I don’t believe that treating them well would make them reluctant to give their all. Are you suggesting that if I sincerely treat fourth uncle well, Fourth Uncle wouldn’t reciprocate? I refuse to entertain such absurdity!,” Zhu Yuanzhang said firmly.

Zhu Di was completely helpless. He looked at the document in his hand, wishing he could tear it apart.

Zhu Di couldn’t bear to imagine the consequences if these policies were to spread. How many of the soldiers under his command would still be loyal to him?

Xu Huizu looked at the silent Zhu Di and said, “These policies have been successful in the capital’s garrison and have gained strong support from the soldiers. They are intended to benefit every soldier of the empire. The Emperor and the Five Army Commandery also unanimously recognize the loyalty, filial piety, benevolence, and righteousness of the King of Yan. Moreover, as the commander in the north, you hold high prestige. Therefore, they want to entrust this matter to you, overseeing the implementation of the new military policies for the troops around Beiping Prefecture.”

Zhu Di felt a deep sense of resentment. Loyalty, filial piety, benevolence, and righteousness? High prestige? Wasn’t it just a ploy to prevent him from rebelling, by implementing the new military policies around Beiping Prefecture and undermining his own power?

“I’m afraid I have limited abilities, and such a significant matter should be entrusted to someone more capable…” Zhu Di politely refused.

Zhu Yunwen smiled and said, “Since Fourth Uncle is unwilling, then let’s have the Beiping Commandery’s Ping An handle it. As for the King of Yan’s Three Guards…”

Zhu Di’s eyes widened in shock as he looked at Zhu Yunwen with fear.

Zhu Yunwen tossed a chess piece into the lake and said, “Fourth Uncle will be in charge of it, and I won’t worry about it.”

Zhu Di felt a sense of relief, but he also realized that as Zhu Yunwen’s actions continued to close in, he had lost the ability to resist!

The implementation of the new military policy by Ping An, will inevitably become widely known in Beiping prefecture, and the surrounding guards will likely respond and pledge their allegiance to the court.

In his possession, He was left with the Three Guards of the King of Yan and his personal guards, totaling just over 50,000 troops. Relying on this small force to confront a united and blockading army of 400,000 would surely result in certain death.

Regardless of Zhu Di’s preferences, Zhu Yunwen forcefully pushed for the implementation of the new military policy, with Beiping Prefecture being the top priority.

This is because among the guards in Beiping, although they are supplied by the court, many of them are former subordinates of the King of Yan. Especially the officers and military officials, most of them were promoted by Zhu Di himself. If Zhu Di shows any signs of rebellion, those individuals will likely contribute their forces to support him.

This is something Zhu Yunwen cannot allow. The implementation of the new military policy, the replacement of officers and military officials will be carried out together. At this stage, Zhu Yunwen still gave Zhu Di a significant amount of face. After all, he did not touch the Three Guards of the King of Yan.

On the surface, these guards belong to the King of Yan, but fundamentally, they are troops under the jurisdiction of North Zhili Province. The true command authority lies with the Commander of North Zhili Province. However, according to Zhu Yuanzhang’s system, the King assumes the role of commander.

Apart from the Three Guards of the King of Yan, the King of Yan also has his own personal guards, numbering nearly ten thousand. Zhu Yunwen has also refrained from making any moves against them.

Zhu Yunwen is waiting, waiting for the opportunity to use his power to crush Zhu Di and make him completely submit.


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