Chapter 35: The King of Yan’s Mansion Opens a Farm
Zhu Di’s military might was formidable, his voice resounding like thunder, shaking people’s hearts.
All the soldiers looked at Zhu Di, following his gaze and listening to the thunderous voice. Gradually, they came to understand that the reason why the new military policy was not implemented in the Three Guards was for their own good.
The new military policy was like a reflection in a mirror, beautiful but temporary, unrealistic. It could be implemented today and revoked the next day. The King of Yan was afraid that everyone would be disappointed and harbor resentment towards the court, which is why he didn’t allow the new military policy in the Three Guards.
Upon careful consideration, what the King of Yan said made sense. Throughout history, when have soldiers had such favorable conditions in war?
Even during the prosperous times of the Han and Tang dynasties, such conditions did not exist, let alone in the Ming Dynasty.
From this perspective, the new military policy was nothing more than a result of Emperor Jianwen’s lack of experience and hasty governance, a means to gather support.
Zhu Di became emotional, his voice choked with tears as he shouted, “I have been considering your well-being, sharing the burdens and difficulties of the court, and exerting all my efforts for the sake of Great Ming. Is this the gratitude and curses I receive in return? Fine, since you don’t trust me, from today onwards, the King of Yan’s Three Guards are free to decide their own path. Those who want the new military policy can leave the military camp and go join Ping An. I, Zhu Di, will not stop you!”
“We won’t leave! We pledge our unwavering loyalty to the King of Yan!”
Zhang Yu and Zhu Neng shouted loudly.
“We won’t leave! We pledge our unwavering loyalty to the King of Yan!”
Countless soldiers roared, their voices echoing in all directions.
Zhu Di raised his sword high, pointing it at the sky, and shouted, “The new military policy is full of flaws. Within two years, there will be chaos. Once the flaws appear, the two million soldiers of Great Ming will surely voice their grievances and blame the court. We bear a heavy responsibility to defend Ming and protect our land.”
“Soldiers, listen up! From this day forth, the Three Guards will strengthen their training. If chaos befalls Ming, it will be us, the Three Guards of the King of Yan, who will restore order to the realm! We will rectify the state and protect the lives of our people! Fight!”
The Three Guards’ loyalty roared like thunder.
Zhu Di firmly held the soldiers of the Three Guards in his hands using his own methods. He instilled in them a strong sense of mission and righteousness, making them believe that everything they did was for the sake of Great Ming and its people!
The King of Yan’s Residence.
Zhu Di led his three sons to express their gratitude to Jin Zhong using a grand ceremony, and Jin Zhong quickly knelt down.
Zhu Gaochi and others were well aware that if it weren’t for Jin Zhong’s strategies and wisdom, the Three Guards of the King of Yan’s mansion might no longer obey the orders from the mansion. Now, no matter how the new military policy was implemented, the Three Guards would not be shaken.
These core members remained Zhu Di’s most reliable force.
Zhu Di arranged for Jin Zhong to work in the King of Yan’s mansion and handed him the latest intelligence from Beiping. With a furrowed brow, Zhu Di said, “It seems that the issue of lack of provisions for the new military policy has been resolved.”
Jin Zhong looked at Zhu Di in astonishment.
Zhu Di handed a piece of intelligence to Jin Zhong and said, “The Emperor has allowed the Beiping Administration Commissioner, Zhang Bing, to handle the summer and autumn grain supplies on-site. Some will be allocated to the military camps, some will be stored as reserves, and the rest will be sold to merchants in exchange for silver. Thirty percent of the silver will go to the Governor’s Office, and the remaining seventy percent will be delivered to the capital.”
Jin Zhong was secretly surprised and pondered for a while before saying, “Your Highness, those behind the Emperor are quite formidable. This method indeed provides ample provisions for the new military policy. However, the immense cost of the new military policy lies not in its initial implementation but in its long-term execution. From my perspective, given the current foundation of Great Ming, it is impossible to sustain the long-term implementation of the new military policy.”
Zhu Di had some understanding of the amount of grain and money in Ming.
According to Zhu Yunwen’s approach, the new military policy would sooner or later encounter trouble.
But the problem lay in the words “sooner or later.”
If it happened too soon, he wouldn’t be prepared.
If it happened too late, Zhu Yunwen would be prepared.
“Your Highness, it is better to be prepared in advance than to dig a well when thirsty.”
Jin Zhong spoke cautiously.
Zhu Di nodded solemnly and then frowned, saying, “Provisions can be resolved to some extent, but what about weapons and equipment?”
Without weapons and equipment, they couldn’t go to the battlefield brandishing bamboo sticks right? Besides, these soldiers hadn’t trained in Dog beating staff techniques, so it wouldn’t be suitable. But swords, spears, and halberds wouldn’t just magically appear out of stones.
If you wanted weapons, you couldn’t just buy them from a weapons store. No one ran such shops in this era.
You couldn’t go to a blacksmith shop for custom-made weapons, the blacksmith can forge a kitchen knife, If you asked them to forge weapons, it would cost their lives. Even if you threatened their entire family, demanding them to forge swords, it would take ages to arm a large army with just a couple of swords per day.
They needed to establish a large-scale weapons workshop, with specific requirements, that ensured secrecy.
But where should the weapons workshop be located?
Inside the Three Guards’ military camp?
No, who knew how many court spies there were? If the news leaked, one might end up being assigned to a workshop to forge iron.
Outside the city?
No, it wouldn’t be secure.
Inside the city?
No, Ping’an and Shengyong were both too formidable.
After much consideration, Zhu Di suddenly had an idea. They could build it within the King of Yan’s mansion. No one would dare to search the mansion, so safety wouldn’t be an issue. Moreover, everyone within the residence was loyal to him, making it less likely for news to leak.
Most importantly, they could keep an elite team within the residence as a precaution against unforeseen circumstances.
Zhu Di was also skilled at seizing opportunities. Zhang Bing, you were encouraging the poultry industry, right? As the King of Yan, it was only natural for me, Zhu Di, to actively respond and set an example.
Not long after, a huge poultry farm was established on the western side of the King of Yan’s mansion. Chickens, ducks, geese, and pigs—anything that could make noise—were brought in.
Raising livestock on the ground, improve the food supply.
Forging weapons underground, hiding a military force.
While Zhu Di was squatting in the chilly poultry farm, contemplating why mother hens don’t lay eggs in winter, Zhu Yunwen, who was in the capital, finally met the legendary Black-robed Prime Minister, Dao Yan.
Dao Yan had been in the capital for over a month, but he spent his time reciting scriptures and performing Buddhist rituals at the Qianning Palace for the Empress Dowager. After completing his duties, he would go to rest at the Linggu Temple.
Zhu Yunwen was busy dealing with the issues of the New Military Policy and the Single Whip Method, and he had no energy to pay attention to Dao Yan. Moreover, having this expert in Machiavellianism and conspiracies stay in the capital couldn’t raise a big storm.
Dao Yan was the fuse, and Zhu Di was the cannonball.
Now that Zhu Yunwen had removed this fuse, he hoped that Zhu Di would restrain himself and submit. However, according to the intelligence brought by Zhang Bing and Ping An, Zhu Di had already stabilized the Three Guards and found a new fuse.
When Zhu Yunwen saw Zhang Bing praising Zhu Di for supporting the poultry industry and setting an example for the people, he almost burst out laughing.
In the end, Zhu Di still wanted to rebel. This guy had thrown away his sincerity. With each setback and admonishment, he refused to listen. In that case, Zhu Yunwen couldn’t blame himself for taking stronger measures.
On October 16th, Zhu Yunwen ordered Zhang Bing, Ping An, and Sheng Yong to inform the Beiping Prefecture that the deadline for the New Military Policy was set for the end of November. If the King of Yan didn’t agree, all the materials prepared for the Three Guards in the new military policy would be entirely transferred to Liaodong, and for the next ten years, there would be no consideration of incorporating them into the New Military Policy.
On the same day, a secret order was issued for the Great Ming Security Bureau to send thirty people to Beiping, responsible for investigating Zhu Di’s activities and seeking opportunities to persuade the leaders of the Three Guards.
On the seventeenth day, Zhu Yunwen appointed Tie Xuan as the commander of Jinan, fully responsible for the defense of Jinan Prefecture. He ordered the Marquis of Changchun Geng Bingwen to lead fifty thousand elite troops from the Beijing Camp to the area of Hebei to organize the troops of Zhending, Baoding, and Hejian Prefectures.
On the eighteenth day, Zhu Yunwen personally went to the Capital garrison, presiding over the training of the new army. Xu Huizu demonstrated a new battle formation for Zhu Yunwen, dividing them into blue and red teams, and trained the new army.
On the nineteenth day, Zhu Yunwen ordered Zheng Ci, the Minister of the Ministry of Works, to reorganize the ministry and strengthen military preparations. He also visited the Bureau of Military Works.
On the twentieth day, the Bureau of Military Works was transformed into the Bureau of Science and Technology, elevating the status and treatment of craftsmen. Those craftsmen who didn’t meet the standards would be converted into farmer households or army households, while the elite ones would be responsible for improving fire lances, cannons, and crossbows. Furthermore, outside the Jinchuan Gate, on Lion Mountain, the highest-level classified military base is established, responsible for the research and development of advanced explosives…
On the twenty-first day, the capital designated Jinan Prefecture as the logistics headquarters for the northern expedition under the pretext of countering Mongol threats. Grain and supplies from Shandong, Shanxi, Henan, and most of Hebei were transported to Jinan Prefecture to meet the needs of the northern expedition. Any insufficient portion would be supplied from the capital.
Zhu Yunwen’s series of actions made the court and the people inside and outside the court panic-stricken. Some individuals who couldn’t see the situation clearly accused Zhu Yunwen of conducting military training and grain transportation in winter, causing harm to the people and wasting resources. They were directly sent to the front lines for labor reform by Zhu Yunwen’s order.
Even if Grand Secretariat pleads, saying that censor officials should not be punished for their words, otherwise, opening up avenues for speech would become a joke.
But Zhu Yunwen did not think so. The censor officials don’t even have basic knowledge, yet they keep blabbering. Why shouldn’t they be punished?
What’s wrong with training troops in winter?
When war comes, do we differentiate between winter and summer?
They don’t know about the future Volunteer Army, fighting in minus 34-degree temperatures and wearing insufficient clothing! But they know that troops cannot be trained in the north in October?
Cannot transport grain?
Arrogant and ignorant!
“How can you say it’s punishment? I’m sending him to the front lines to understand the hardships of the army and the people. He can come back next spring.”
Zhu Yunwen cut off the pleas of the ministers.
On October 22nd, light snow fell in Nanjing.
Zhu Yunwen rarely had some free time, so he went to the Qianning Palace. After Empress Dowager finished her Buddhist rituals, he smiled at Dao Yan, who was about to leave, and said, “Master Dao Yan, please come to the Hall of Preserving Harmony.”
After bidding farewell to Empress Dowager, Zhu Yunwen arrived at the Hall of Preserving Harmony and looked at the thin old monk bowing before him, saying warmly, “Master, you have worked hard during this time.”
Dao Yan quickly replied, “I dare not. It is what this humble monk should do. The Empress Dowager devotes herself to Buddhism, and the Buddha will bestow blessings, protecting the Empress Dowager and Great Ming.”
“Haha, it’s not Gautama Buddha who protects Great Ming, but the countless people of Great Ming, including soldiers, merchants, and officials. If everyone relies on the Buddha for blessings, who does the world belong to, the Buddha or me?”
Zhu Yunchuan looked at Dao Yan and said seriously.
Dao Yan moved his prayer beads and said, “The Buddha is a thought in the mind, the essence of the spirit. Your Majesty is the ruler of the empire, the master of the people. These two are not contradictory.”
Zhu Yunwen nodded slightly and asked, “So, as the master said, one side recites scriptures and practices diligently, serving the Buddha, performing good deeds during the day, while on the other side, one speaks harshly and wholeheartedly, delving into the realm of demons, committing evil deeds at night. These two aspects are not contradictory, right?”
A faint sound was heard as the thread of the prayer beads snapped. Beads scattered and rolled down, landing on the floor of the solemn hall, scattering in all directions.
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