Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 48

Chapter 48: The Consciousness of the Students at the Imperial Academy

The news of the imperial court’s preparation to establish a national flag, national emblem, and national anthem spread like wildfire, causing a sensation throughout the city of Nanjing.

In the Imperial Academy

Wu Yun from the Shuaixing Hall was flipping through “The Analects” in the study hall, trying to understand the meaning behind old man Zhu Xi’s annotations.

Although Wu Yun disagreed with Zhu Xi’s convoluted explanations, he had no choice but to adhere to Zhu Xi’s annotations as the examination outline for the imperial examination. If he wanted to express his own opinions and ideas freely, he would have to give up and return home.

Bang! Bang!

Wu Yun looked up and saw Hu Jun standing by the window, looking at him.

“Brother Wu, come out quickly, there’s a big matter,” Hu Jun quickly exclaimed.

Wu Yun pointed to the “The Analects” in his hands and said, “The Spring Examination is approaching, and we must not slack off in our diligence. It’s better not to disturb me with trivial matters.”

Hu Jun laughed and said, “You are already a student of the Shuaixing Hall. As long as you pass the assessment, you can be appointed to an official position. Why bother participating in the imperial examination? If you fail, wouldn’t it be a blow to your reputation?”

The Imperial Academy is divided into six halls, with three in the junior level: Zhengyi (Justice), Chongzhi (Aspiration), and Guangye (Wide Industry); two in the middle level: Xiudao (Cultivating the Tao) and Chengxin (Sincerity); and only one in the senior level: Shuaixing (Spontaneity).

Upon entering the Imperial Academy, passing the Four Books examination allows entry into the three junior halls.

After studying in the Imperial Academy for a year and a half or more, passing the exams, and demonstrating proficiency in literature, one can enter the middle-level halls.

In the middle-level halls, after studying for another year and a half or more and passing the assessments, demonstrating mastery of the classics and comprehensive knowledge in literature, one can enter the Shuaixing hall.

As a student of the Shuaixing Hall, there are monthly assessments. Excellent performance earns one point, passing earns half a point, and failing earns no points. If one earns eight points within a year, they can be appointed to an official position.

Wu Yun had joined the Shuaixing Hall three months ago and had excelled in every assessment. He no longer needed to participate in the imperial examination; he just had to wait for the opportunity. Enduring for eight months would allow him to enter the court or remain in the capital or be assigned to a local position.

Wu Yun smiled faintly, rolled up his book, and said, “Compared to reputation, I have greater ambition. I remember you have relatives in the capital. Why did you come to the Imperial Academy? Did you start teaching in advance?”

Hu Jun clapped his hands and quickly said, “Look at me, I almost forgot about this. Brother Wu, you still don’t know, the court has established a National Day, which falls on the fourth day of the first lunar month. It’s a day of national celebration, with days off that can be extended until after the Lantern Festival.”

“National Day? Haha, that’s novel. It’s a celebration of the founding of the country, not bad. During those four days, I’ll leave the Imperial Academy and take a stroll in the streets,” With a smile on his face, Wu Yun turned to the side and asked, “Your joy seems to be more than just about having a few days of rest, isn’t it?”

Hu Jun entered directly through the window, walked towards Wu Yun, pulled out a nearby stool, and said, “There is another major matter that I just heard. The imperial court intends to design a national flag, national emblem, and national anthem for the Great Ming, to proclaim the unity of the Great Ming and to inform all the nations and peoples.”

“National flag, national emblem, national anthem? What are these?” Wu Yun furrowed his brow, having never heard of them before.

Hu Jun chuckled and said, “That’s the problem right here. None of us knows what they are, but everyone hopes for their existence. Just imagine, raising the national flag of the Great Ming, gazing upon its national emblem, and singing the national anthem of the Great Ming. It will be such a magnificent and glorious sight!”

“Currently, the Grand Secretariat, the Five Military Commandery, and the Central Six Ministries are all busy, preparing proposals for the national flag, national emblem, and national anthem. This is a significant matter for the country. As students of the Imperial Academy and members of the  Shuaixing Hall, how can we not participate?”

Hu Jun’s speech also stirred up Wu Yun’s excitement. He put down his book, stood up, and said, “Did the Ministry of Rites ask our Imperial Academy to participate?”

“Oh, they didn’t, actually,” replied Hu Jun straightforwardly.

Wu Yun gritted his teeth and stared fiercely at Hu Jun, asking, “Then why are you telling me all this?”

Hu Jun laughed heartily and said, “Although the Ministry of Rites didn’t ask us, we can find a way to participate. Don’t tell me that you, Wu Yun, don’t want to be involved in such a historically renowned national affair?”

Naturally, Wu Yun didn’t want to miss such an opportunity and said straightforwardly, “Who doesn’t want to participate? But if the Ministry of Rites doesn’t give the order, what can we do?”

Hu Jun brought the teapot from the side and poured a cup of cold tea. With a smirk, he said, “Don’t forget, we have a person with extraordinary connection in our Imperial Academy. As long as she speaks up, our Imperial Academy’s participation won’t be a problem.”

“You mean her? You want us to ask her?” Wu Yun widened his eyes, looking incredulous.

Hu Jun nodded and said, “Wu Yun, you’ve also read ‘Cats Theory.’ If monks can stand in the court, why not women? Doesn’t ‘Recruit talents without sticking to conventions’ align with your beliefs? Or is it just empty words?”

“But what talent does she have?” Wu Yun exclaimed in frustration.

Hu Jun calmly looked at Wu Yun and said, “As far as I know, the individuals she recommended, such as Li Zhigang, Guo Lian, and Wang Huai, have performed exceptionally well and achieved good results in assessments. It doesn’t matter if she herself is talented or not. She is adept at discovering talent. Do you acknowledge that?”

Wu Yun pursed his lips and remained silent.

Someone who dares to test students’ courage with a python, causing a commotion in the Imperial Academy, is indeed talented.

Regardless of her unconventional methods, the results are legitimate.

Hu Jun grabbed Wu Yun’s arm and said, “The Chancellor and the Director of Studies are not here. If we want to participate, the only way is to have her intervene. I have arranged contact with over thirty people. Even if she doesn’t agree, the news will reach the Emperor. We still have a chance then.”

Wu Yun lowered his head solemnly and agreed.

King of Zhongshan Mansion.

Xu Miaojin was writing a letter to her elder sister, Xu Yihua, informing her of some interesting incidents at the Imperial Academy. Just as she finished sealing the letter, a servant came in and reported, “Young Miss, there is a group of Imperial Academy students outside seeking an audience.”

“The Imperial Academy?” Xu Miaojin quickly pushed the door open and asked, “Did they mention the purpose of their visit?”

“They only said it was an important matter to discuss,” the servant replied.

Xu Miaojin nodded and instructed, “Please have them wait in the front hall. I’ll be back shortly.”

Although it was the vacation period for the Imperial Academy, many students couldn’t return home and had to stay behind at the academy. Combined with Zhu Yunwen changing the examination schedule, many students remained at the Imperial Academy, diligently studying.

The Imperial Examinations have been held once in the 30th year of the Hongwu reign. According to the regulations, they should be held once every three years, and the next one should take place in the second year of the Jianwen reign.

However, Zhu Yunwen was unwilling to wait. Apart from releasing the “Cat Theory,” he advocated the principle of “promoting the capable and demoting the mediocre.” He forcefully advanced the imperial examinations by one year and urgently announced them throughout the country. He intended to replace the old with the new.

Naturally, there were voices of opposition to this move, but the top officials of the Grand Secretariat and the Six Ministries supported it. Whatever the subordinates said made no difference.

Xu Miaojin didn’t know what major issue these students had, but as the Proctor of the Disciplinary office in the Imperial Academy, she couldn’t turn a blind eye or ignore it.

Upon reaching the front hall, a group of students saw Xu Miaojin approaching. They quickly formed several queues, respectfully saluting and calling out, “We greet Proctor Xu.”

Xu Miaojin smiled, and the most pleasing thing to her was the title of “Proctor Xu.” She stepped forward and asked, “What brings all of you to my mansion? Is there something happening at the Imperial Academy?”

Hu Jun took a step forward, saluted once again, and said,

 “Proctor Xu, we, the students, are all willing to contribute to the prosperity of the Great Ming. We request your assistance, Proctor Xu, to elevate the Imperial Academy’s reputation for eternity and leave a legacy for future generations.”

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