Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 24

Chapter 24: Startled Zhu Di

A forced landing is prone to problems, while a soft landing is the proper way.

When Emperor Jianwen ascended the throne in history, within a few months, he resorted to drastic measures. He demoted the King of Zhou to a commoner and later took action against the King of Qi, Xiang, and Dai, stripping them of their titles and reducing them to commoners.

King of Xiang had no way to defend himself and burned himself to death!

Despite such a tragic incident, Emperor Jianwen remained unmoved. He subsequently placed the King of Qi and the King of Dai under house arrest and further demoted the king of Min to a commoner.

Zhu Di, with no way out, rebelled under the banner of ” defending the righteous cause and stabilizing the kingdom.” After four years, he successfully overthrew Emperor Jianwen and ascended the throne in Nanjing.

This time, Zhu Yunwen learned from the lessons of history. He decided not to forcefully strip the kings of their titles but rather let them voluntarily request to be demoted and relocated. Wouldn’t that be better?

By handling the matter openly in front of everyone, no one could find fault. Moreover, the outcome of relocation would be much better for them than remaining in their desolate border territories.

Why not enjoy prosperity and be a peaceful regional prince?

For those who are fond of pleasure, take more concubines; for those who desire wealth, acquire more land; for those who enjoy food, indulge in more delicacies.

But as for military power?

That is a path to self-destruction.

Military power must belong to the central authority!

There is no room for negotiation on this matter!

“Come, let us celebrate and drink on this Mid-Autumn Festival.”

Emperor Zhu Yunwen raised his cup, and everyone followed suit.

Setting down his wine cup, with a eunuch refilling it nearby, Zhu Yunwen descended from the platform with a wine cup in his hand and said to the crowd, “This cup of wine, I offer it to Uncle Four alone. Uncle Four, come!”

Zhu Di quickly stood up, expressing his gratitude repeatedly.

Zhu Yunwen smiled and said, “Uncle Four, you have achieved great merits and worked tirelessly. I have witnessed it all. Without your presence in Shuntian[1]TL’s note: He means Shuntian Prefecture and your coordination of the military across the nine borders, I would have restless days and nights. This cup of wine is dedicated to you, Uncle Four.”

“Brother Four, go ahead and drink it.”

King of Dai, Zhu Gui, shouted with a smile.

Zhu Di looked at Zhu Yunwen, and as Zhu Yunwen raised his wine cup when their cups touched, Zhu Di noticed that Zhu Yunwen lowered his cup. He quickly adjusted his cup downwards, lightly touched it, and drank it all in one gulp.

Zhu Yunwen observed this small detail, a smile forming at the corner of his mouth. He then picked up a wine pitcher from the side, intending to pour wine for Zhu Di personally. However, in a moment of carelessness, the wine pitcher slipped from his hand and fell to the ground, spilling wine all over the floor.

The crowd was taken aback.

Shuangxi quickly came forward to clean up the mess and brought a fresh bottle of wine.

With a hint of apology, Zhu Yunwen said, “Fourth Uncle, it was my carelessness. Here, let me fill up your cup. Since the wine has spilled, we can only serve fresh wine now. I hope it suits your taste, Fourth Uncle.”

Zhu Di’s eyes widened in extreme astonishment!

“The wine has spilled, we can only serve fresh wine now.” These were the words spoken by Li Zengzhi to Zhu Di during their secret conversation in Yangzhou Prefecture!

And now, the Emperor himself spoke those exact words!

Could it be that Li Zengzhi was the Emperor’s man, sent to test him?!

The family banquet continued, but Zhu Di felt a chill running through his body. He had lost all interest, his gaze fixed on the gentle smile on Zhu Yunwen’s face. Fear crept over Zhu Di in waves.

He knew his every move!

He knew he had ambitions!

He knew who was on his side!

That’s why he changed the defense of Beiping!

That’s why he transferred Li Jinglong, Xu Zengshou, Li Zengzhi, and others!

That’s why he wants Dao Yan!

That’s why he was preparing to implement the New Military Policy in Beiping Prefecture!

What was he really doing?

Bitterness filled Zhu Di’s mouth as he finally understood!

Zhu Yunwen was using the art of war, seeking to achieve victory without a battle and make him surrender!

What a formidable Zhu Yunwen, what a formidable Jianwen Emperor, what a formidable nephew!

As the family banquet concluded, the various princes departed one by one.

After returning to the King of Yan’s Mansion, Zhu Di shared the events of the family banquet with Zhu Gaochi, Zhu Gaoxu, and others, asking, “What do you all think?”

Zhu Gaoxu stood up angrily and said, “Father, it must be Li Zengzhi who betrayed us! At that time, Qiu Fu was guarding outside, and it was impossible for anyone outside to hear the conversation inside. Apart from Li Zengzhi and Father, no one knew the content of our secret talk!”

“Is it still meaningful to investigate who betrayed us now?”

Zhu Gaochi glared at Zhu Gaoxu and then said to Zhu Di, “Father, the current plan is to conform to the Emperor’s wishes and wait for the opportunity. From the Emperor summoning Dao Yan to the capital to the New Military policy in Beiping Prefecture to the implicit hints during the Mid-Autumn family banquet, it shows that the Emperor is aware of our intentions. However, due to the lack of clear evidence, he has been testing us repeatedly.”

Zhu Di naturally understood this and sighed, “According to your opinion, how should we conform to the Emperor’s wishes?”

Zhu Gaochi solemnly said, “Show loyalty.”

Zhu Di’s pupils slightly contracted. These three words may be easy to say, but they were incredibly difficult to execute!

It was relatively easy to show loyalty in the capital, just say a few words and put on an act.

But how to show loyalty after returning to Beiping Prefecture?

It would involve giving up military power, weakening the army, or implementing the New military policy, but Zhu Di couldn’t choose any of these options!

How could he achieve his great ambitions without an army?

Zhu Gaoxu disagreed with his elder brother’s view and said, “Father, why don’t we return to the capital, raise the banner, and rally the forces under your call? The guards in Beiping Prefecture will surely respond. At that time, we will command an army of a hundred thousand. As long as we convince the King of Ning, King of Gu, and King of Dai, we can control most of the North Zhili. Then we can march south, capture Jinan, Xuzhou, and Yangzhou in one fell swoop, and ultimately seize Nanjing!”

“You seem to have forgotten, little brother, that there are still four hundred thousand troops surrounding Beiping Prefecture!”

Zhu Gaochi retorted sternly.

Zhu Gaoxu sneered, “So what if there are four hundred thousand troops? Without competent generals, no matter how numerous the soldiers are, they are just useless. Ping’an and Qu Neng may have some abilities, but they are no match for Zhang Yu and Zhu Neng. Moreover, Father has a great reputation from countless battles. Who would dare to challenge us?”

Zhu Gaochi shouted angrily, “You are too naive! The defense of Beiping is most likely completely under Ping’an’s control by now! Ping’an is a cunning person and the Emperor has even given them the authority to appoint military officers. Once they replace our people with their own, who will obey our commands?”

“Even if we control Beiping Prefecture, the New Military Policy will undoubtedly be implemented before we arrive. Do you think the guards will risk their lives to fight or enjoy the benefits of the New Military Policy? Without these people, where will we get our hundred thousand soldiers?”

“And furthermore, if we rush into action, the provisions, horses, and weapons are not yet ready. How can we proceed? Are we going to eat the people? Without the support of the people, how far can we go? The Jianwen Emperor holds the world in his hands. Do you think he will sit idly by?”

Zhu Gaoxu was about to refute Zhu Gaochi, but Zhu Di slammed the table and shouted, “Enough!”

There was a hint of unwillingness in Zhu Di’s eyes as he said, “Let’s discuss this matter further once we return to our fiefdoms.”

Hall of Martial Valor.

Zhu Yunwen was not lying drunk, but instead reviewing memorials from various regions. Fortunately, there were no major events during this period, and the country was in a state of peace and prosperity.

Shuangxi approached and reported, “Your Majesty, Zheng He from the Imperial Stables has arrived.”

Zhu Yunwen raised his eyebrows slightly and instructed Shuangxi to bring him in.

Zheng He entered the hall, paid his respects, and said, “Your Majesty, it is indeed possible to build large seafaring ships at the Longjiang Shipyard. However, we still have a shortage of shipbuilders. It may take several years to build large ships and form a substantial fleet.”

Zhu Yunwen nodded slightly and said, “I have already issued orders to gather shipbuilders and establish shipyards in Suzhou, Songjiang, Zhenjiang, and other places. We will mobilize the nation’s resources to build a fleet for long-distance voyages. Duke Cao’s journey to the South is also for the purpose of preparing for shipbuilding.”

Zheng He quickly responded, “Your Majesty’s considerations are thorough. I have no objections. We will be ready for long-distance voyages in three years!”

Zhu Yunwen frowned slightly, as three years seemed quite distant.

However, the matter of long-distance voyages was complex and required careful planning. It could not be rushed.

“I appoint you as the Deputy Commander of the Navy. You may select ten thousand troops from the navy to form the long-distance voyage fleet and commence training. Inform Commander of Navy, Chen Xuan, that I allow you to choose anyone you need.”

“In addition, begin training in rivers and lakes first, and when the time is right, conduct sea training. Travel south to Guangzhou, engage in round-trip transportation of goods, and experience various storms and waves to cultivate your skills. If you encounter any unsolvable problems, come directly to me.”

Emperor Zhu Yunwen made the arrangements with seriousness.

Zheng He expressed his gratitude and excitement.

The Emperor had considered everything that he had in mind. What more could he ask for?

It was time to prepare for the long-distance voyages.

Zhu Yunwen lowered his head to continue handling the memorials. He seemed to sense something and noticed Shuangxi gazing in the direction where Zheng He had left. He asked, “What are you daydreaming about?”

Shuangxi was suddenly startled and quickly knelt down, begging for forgiveness.

“Alright, I was just asking a question. Just give a proper response, there’s no need to kneel every time,” Zhu Yunwen said with a furrowed brow.

Shuangxi quickly stood up and said, “I am only envious of Zheng He’s ability to oversee construction and command troops. It’s surprising that even a disabled person can make contributions.”

Zhu Yunwen chuckled and said, “In this world, everyone has their own place. Your place is to accompany me faithfully, and his place is to explore new sea routes.”

Shuangxi naturally understood this point.

After handling the memorials, Zhu Yunwen instructed someone to deliver them to the Office of Transmission. He then stretched his somewhat weary body and walked out of the Hall of Martial Valor with Shuangxi by his side.

The full moon hung high in the sky, casting its bright and serene light over the grand palace of the Great Ming.

The tranquil and cool autumn night brought a sense of contentment.

Ma Enhui slowly approached and said to Emperor Zhu Yunwen, who was gazing at the moon, “Your Majesty, are you in a poetic mood?”

“A poetic mood?”

Zhu Yunwen looked at Ma Enhui with a bitter smile.

Ma Enhui, slightly intoxicated, gazed at Zhu Yunwen with a hazy look in her eyes and said, “On such a beautiful night, wouldn’t Your Majesty like to compose a poetic verse?”

Zhu Yunwen shook his head helplessly, looked at the moon, and thought for a moment. Here was not the Tang or Song Dynasty where he could borrow poems from Li Bai or Su Shi and pretend to be romantic.

During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there were not many renowned poets like those in the Tang and Song Dynasties. People from later generations didn’t know much about poets like Song Lian, Liu Ji, and Gao Qi, known as the Three Masters of Early Ming Poetry.

Although later poets like Li Menglong, Wang Shizhen, Li Zhi, Yuan Kai, Wang Fuzhi, Huang Zongxi, and Gu Yanwu had their poetry works passed down, Emperor Zhu Yunwen didn’t remember many of them.

However, there was one poem by Wang Shizhen that suited the current mood.

Emperor Zhu Yunwen shamelessly used it directly, since the Ming Dynasty belonged to him, so what were Wang Shizhen’s poems? Moreover, there are still hundred years before Wang Shizhen born.

“The moon shines brightly, knowing its true essence, regardless of waxing or waning.

Whether it waxes or wanes, let us rejoice in this good season on Earth.

In this good season, may we witness it year after year and always see the Mid-Autumn Moon.”

Zhu Yunwen recited slowly.

Ma Enhui looked at Emperor Zhu Yunwen in astonishment. Although she knew he had some talent, she was still surprised to hear such thought-provoking poetry.

“In this good season, may we witness it year after year and always see the Mid-Autumn Moon. I also have the same wish.”

Ma Enhui said joyfully.

Zhu Yunwen embraced Ma Enhui and looked at the moon, which was currently full, but in a few days, it would begin to wane.

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 TL’s note: He means Shuntian Prefecture

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


error: Content is protected !!