All Under Heaven – Chapter 11

Any retreat is punishable by death!
The County Magistrate Yang Rufu was awakened by the ruckus from outside.

He didn’t even have time to probably get changed, before the housekeeper burst in: “Laoye, things are bad! The Wukou are invading!”

Yang Rufu was shaken to the core by this information, his first thought was: I’m done for, I’ll lose my position.

His second thought: When Zhao Su came to see me, why didn’t I believe him?

During the Ming dynasty, there was a law that if a Government Official abandons his post, he will be given the death penalty. So even if he managed to save his own life, his career would be over.

So what could he do, desperately cling on and defend his land to his death.

But Yang Rufu was still mentally capable, he settled down and said “Quickly prepare my horse, let’s make haste for the city gates!”

At this time outside the city, the fighting was in full swing.

The Ming soldiers had been woken up in the middle of the night, caught off guard, they were hurriedly trying to ready themselves.

At the same time at the bottom of the city walls, a thousand Wukou were standing outside, it was not known when they had got there but they were ready to invade the city.

The people on top of the city wall were haphazardly shooting down towards the Wukou. The sky was black, the firing range was far so they were not particularly successful, and even wasted quite a few arrows.

When Company Leader Jiang had hurried over to the City gates, there were quite a few Wukou who had scaled over the wall and were already fighting with the Ming soldiers. At close hand to hand combat, blood was splattering everywhere and terrifying screams carried through the air. 

The news of Wukuo’s arrival spread like wildfire across the whole of the city.

Changle had been peaceful for more than ten years, when had they encountered a battle like this? The inhabitants of the city had all been woken up, hearing that the Wukou had arrived, there was panic everywhere. There were even people who were packing up trying to get out of the city running toward the next county.

Zhao Su was shaken by the scene he witnessed after opening the door.

The darkness of night didn’t stop the frenetic footsteps of the people.

There were screams and cries everywhere. Everyone ran around like headless chickens. The officials and merchants had already packed up their things and were leaving by carriage via the mountain road. The ordinary inhabitants were helpless, so they could only pray that the soldiers could stop the ruthless Wukou.

Once the Wukou entered the city, the consequences were obvious – the women harassed, the men murdered and homes looted. Everyone had never felt the shadow of death looming so closely above their heads as they did at this moment.

Lady Chen and the others in the household had already been instructed by Zhao Su to go and hide in the cellar. Here, it was at least a little safer than being outside with the bewildered people.

Zhao Su had made preparations very early one, at his home he had built a cellar that they usually used to store some dried food. Under emergencies, people were also able to hide there, plus there was enough food and drink for a few months. He had also acquired a few young and courageous servants, and made them train their bodies regularly, so that when it came down to it they could also aid in protecting the home.

Although it hadn’t been that long, they should still be of some use.
Of course, the best way was still to prevent the Wukou from entering the city. Otherwise, the consequences were unfathomable. Not to mention that his small shop would be destroyed but the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in Changle County would also be ruined.

Zhao Su was standing at the entrance, frowning, he was deep in thought.

Housekeeper Dai was following him worriedly, unwilling to leave. “Gongzi, we should go down to the cellar now!”

Zhao Su hadn’t even had time to reply when suddenly someone arrived on a horse. The person shouted: “Is Zhao Su here?”

“That would be me.”

That person would never have thought at this critical time, Zhao Su was just standing there at the entrance of his house.

“Yang da-ren wants you to go over there now!”

Zhao Su walked over quickly without hesitation.

Housekeeper Dai thought to himself, was this what Zhao Su was waiting for?

That person got off the house: “Please take this horse, Yang da-ren said it’s extremely urgent!”

“Got it, thank you!” Zhao Su left formalities behind and got onto the horse.

He said before leaving: “Dai-bo, tell my mother that I will be back very soon.” After saying this, he swiftly rode off on the horse.

Dai Zhong, who was left behind, stamped his foot.

Changle was a small county town with about a thousand soldiers. However, this number included even the old and disabled who hadn’t held a sword in years.

Whilst outside the city, there were a thousand Wukou. They were not only well prepared but also had weapons and were full of vitality.

Countless arrows came with the strong wind whizzing, and the arrows were coated with kerosene and ignited. Some fell on the city wall, some shot soldiers, and some fell into the city, igniting the houses, and instantly bursting into flames.

The Wukou had evidently picked this opportunity tactfully. Tonight’s wind was blowing North East giving them the advantage.

And our own side missed a decisive moment, morale was greatly reduced, and the wounded soldiers were constantly being carried away, and the wailing voices were heard from time to time.

The smell of blood and smoke pierced their nostrils, and also reddened the eyes.

This battle had a large disparity in fighting power.

When Zhao Su arrived at the city gates, Yang Rufu was giving out orders to everyone.

The official’s uniform he was wearing was black and purple, smoky, and his official’s hat had disappeared, he was a sorry sight.

“Prepare hot water and hot oil, and pour a pot down after the pot is boiled!”
“Company Leader Jiang, you lead a thousand men to guard this city gate, if they dare to retreat, immediate execution!”

“Li Ming, you take the secret letter, and head to Fuzhou to seek reinforcements, we can hold out at most three more days!”

Everyone was ordered to leave. Yang Rufu didn’t even have time to wipe off the sweat, before hearing someone next to him say “Daren, the people are panicked if you allow the officials to leave first, I’m afraid that the people will be even more panicked, it’ll be more harmful for morale.”

Yang Rufu turned around and saw that Zhao Su was standing there. Zhao Su was clean and tidy and didn’t seem panicked at all.

He exclaimed: “Shaoyong, this official regrets not listening to you!”

Zhao Su cried back: “Before this day, I could not have been absolutely certain. As an imperial official, da-ren must consider carefully, please don’t blame yourself.”

Yang Rufu shook his head and smiled bitterly. This battle looked like it was headed for disaster. In his head, he was already preparing for the worst.

Seeing Yang Rufu’s defeated outlook, Zhao Su quickly said: “Don’t give up hope, as long as we can hold out until reinforcements arrive, it will already be counted as a victory. Da-ren, the priority now is to maintain order!”

All the staff and government officials were sent down by him to count the weapons and the resources they had at hand, Yang Rufu stood at the city gates, feeling dejected and helpless. At this time, at least there was someone beside him to comfort and cheer him on. It is better than facing chaos by himself.  

He smiled bitterly, rubbing his face, pushed up his spirits and put on a stern face in front of some passing soldiers: “Let it be known that the whole city is under martial law, send people to guard every exit point. No one is allowed to leave the city without permission!”


He looked at Zhao Su’s calm and indifferent face, and shouted out: “Shaoyong, you just got jieyuan, we should be having a celebration banquet in your honour, instead we’ve encountered such an incident. It’s really unfortunate!”

Zhao Su laughed: “”The city is here, the people are here. If the city falls, this title of jieyuan is meaningless.”

It was laughable that this da-ren was still concerned with a matter like this when they didn’t even know if they’d survive today.  

Fires across the city were burning brightly. The Wukou in the city were like wolves, and the city suffered heavy casualties.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t afraid, but it was that there was no point in being afraid.

The only option was to fight till the end.

If during the Ming Dynasty the navy existed, then Changle would have definitely become a coastal defense stronghold.

It was a pity, there wasn’t.

So anyone could come straight in, there is almost no force to fight back.
Although Yang Rufu did his best to guard the city, their advantage was slowly disappearing.

The night was over, the light of day had finally come.

Looking around, the foot soldiers were exhausted, and falling asleep. Most of the soldiers who were on duty at the fortress seemed dispirited.

Company Leader Jiang was injured, he was suffering from three sword cuts to his body and an arrow to his waist and was being carried away. There remained less than ten high-ranking military officers who could still fight. Even if Yang Rufu couldn’t fight himself, he still couldn’t leave the frontline.

Unknowingly, Zhao Su had become his right hand man, helping to come up with ideas.

Perhaps it was because he had received scholarly honour, or perhaps it was because he was able to stay calm in this situation, Yang Rufu had given him tacit approval to be there, so others would not have said anything otherwise.

The Wukou invasion hadn’t stopped because it was daylight. To the contrary, as soon as it was daybreak, they were no longer gathered outside the city gates, but instead had scattered elsewhere. They were looking for a weak point in which to take advantage of and attack.

The foot soldiers had long stopped putting their entire strength into the battle. Usually, during training, they were already slack and idle, and they had now been exposed. If it wasn’t for Yang Rufu giving orders on the frontline. They would have probably given up and Changle would probably be in the hands of the Wukou now.

“Reporting to Da-ren! Leader Li has suffered from arrows, I’m afraid he probably won’t last much longer!” A soldier ran over panting. Since Company Leader Jiang had been carried over, there wasn’t really anyone else who could lead the soldiers. There was a vice-commander who had taken the initiative to volunteer, Yang Rufu, seeing that he seemed to be courageous and brave, had let him stand in for Company Leader Jiang.

What he was most afraid of had come to pass, Yang Rufu’s face went blank, firmly grinding his teeth: “B*stard Wukou! How many troops do we have left?”

“Less than five hundred people, da-ren, should we just fall back?” the soldier suggested bitterly, his eyes rolled backwards.

It would have been better if he hadn’t said anything, as soon as it came out, there was an uproar amongst the people in the vicinity, waiting for Yang Rufu to say the word, they would immediately flee.

There was a flash of a blade, that soldier cried out before falling to the ground.

Zhao Su had Yang Rufu’s sword in his hands, his eyes swept over the people nearby and coldly said: “Anyone who destabilizes troop morale must be executed.”

The blood was trickling down the sword but he didn’t even blink.

The people were in awe, they couldn’t utter a word.

Who would have thought a scholar would act like this?

Yang Rufu shook out of his daze, he secretly said to himself good thing Zhao Su had taken hold of the situation, if not, the soldier’s morale would definitely falter and most would have already fled.

“Under my orders, any retreat is punishable by death! Anyone who stirs up trouble with the people, execute them! Anyone who surrenders to the enemy, execute them!”

Hearing the word “execute” come out of his mouth three times in succession, everyone who heard, turned white.   
Yang Rufu looked at their disheartened faces, sighed silently to himself and then said: “You are the soldiers of the Ming Dynasty. You have the responsibility of defending the land and this country. If this battle is won, this official will present a memorial to the emperor to request recognition for your efforts. If we lose, our heads will roll under the emperor’s orders. The city is here, the people are here. The city falls, the people fall!”


Zhao Su sighed secretly, and forced himself to hold his trembling right hand still, and returned the sword to Yang Rufu.

“Da-ren, please forgive Shaoyong for my insolence.”

No one was born a butcher, but seeing the soldier’s morale shaken just now, Yang Rufu understood Zhao Su had no other choice but to kill him.

“What you did was correct, this official cannot compare to you….” Yang Rufu didn’t finish his sentence. He was attracted by a light at the bottom of the city gates.

Angry and surprised: “Where did they get firearms from?!”

Zhao Su went to take a look, there was indeed a group of people with a few holding firearms firing at the city walls.

Arrows fell from the top of the city walls, but not even one came close to the Wukou.”

“Give me an arrow.”

He took an arrow from a soldier, and weighed it in his hand.

He pulled the arrow back to aim, holding his breath.

He had practiced this countless times.

The arrow shot from the bow.

The target was hit.

The target didn’t even have a chance to cry out.

Having succeeded, Zhao Su didn’t stop, he shot three more arrows successively, hitting two more people.

From this far a distance, it was already hard to aim.

Originally the morale of the soldiers were at all time low but seeing the success of his arrows it was uplifted again. Everyone was surprised to see this weak scholar first kill a man and then kill several Wukou successfully with his arrows. They couldn’t help watching him shooting arrows towards the bottom of the city wall, unexpectedly holding back the Wukou.

But even if Zhao Su’s archery was excellent, he was only one man. Even if morale improves slightly, the foundations of these soldiers had never been particularly high.

Plus, the number of arrows remaining were low, if he continued to shoot, there would be none left.

Yang Rufu took a deep breath and gave the order for the people in the city to fight the enemy together. The elderly, women and children were responsible for the logistics and provisions. The young and strong were asked to fight against the enemy. Everyone brought a basket of stones and threw them down. The more the better.

For the imperial army, defending against the enemy is their duty, and doing a good job may not have merit.

But for the people of Changle, this is their home. The coming of the Wukou is tantamount to destroying their peaceful life, and there is a possibility that they would even lose their lives. So, when Yang Rufu called upon them, naturally countless people responded. No matter whether it was men and women, young and old, they showed a high fighting spirit that surpassed the ordinary soldiers.
Stones, boiling oil, boiling water, anything that could resist the enemy was thrown down the city walls.

The bow and arrows were left to the able archers.

The Wokou who managed to scale up the wall were surrounded by groups of people.

The situation almost reversed.

However, ordinary people have not received formal training after all. No matter how strong they are, they may not be able to beat those Wukou who have experienced many battles, cunning and agility. After a fierce battle, both sides suffered heavy casualties. But the Wukou finally temporarily ceased their attack, changing to guerrilla warfare.   

Yang Rufu and the others on this side weren’t in much better shape.

Looking over, all you could see was injured soldiers, even Zhao Su’s hand had been injured by an arrow, he hastily wrapped it up with a white cloth.

Some of the old and weak women and children bandaged them with medicines for wounds, while others helped them with medicinal tonics and carried the wounded soldiers. There were even unmarried ladies amongst them who came to help.

Shen Lexing took out everything he had in Hui Chun Tang, giving it for free to the soldiers.

Zhao Shenhai also sent out some of the Zhao clan’s able-bodied men to guide the city walls, and Zhao Nuan naturally volunteered. He actually voluntarily ran to the Crenel of the city walls to kill the enemy at close range, and sustained light injuries.

In the face of huge threats, in order to protect their homes, people put down their usual moral boundaries, and their will has reached an unprecedented unity.   

Zhao Su’s clothes were stained with blood, and his hair was a bit messy, but he was still thinking clearly. He continued to think about the battlefield situation and the advantages and disadvantages of the two sides in his mind, trying to find a way to hold on until reinforcements arrived.

He and Yang Rufu were leaning to one side, talking about how to prevent people from fishing in the muddy waters of the city, but they heard someone eagerly report: “Reporting to da-ren, the granary is on fire, and several private houses are also burning!”

Yang Rufu began to get nervous again: “Has the fire been put out?”

“The fire in the granary has been extinguished, and one of the houses is too big to be extinguished for a while…Ah, Zhao Jieyuan, you are here too. I heard people say that the house seems to belong to you!”   

Zhao Su’s face went blank.

His mother and the others were still inside!   
–Today’s little history lesson–

Today let’s talk about an interesting person who was also an Emperor.

That’s right, he is Jiajing’s uncle, Zhu Youcheng, aka Hongzhi Emperor.

This guy’s fundamental experience is the starting point for our MC!

When he was young he was persecuted by his father’s beloved imperial concubine, as a prince, he didn’t live well, his mother was wrongfully killed, and he lived everyday on edge.

It was not easy for him to become the Emperor, he could have married many wives, but in fact he only ever married one.

That’s right, just one wife and no other imperial concubines, or concubines, he just had one Empress.

A lot of people said that they didn’t believe it, how could there be an Emperor that was so devoted, but in reality, there really was one. Over thousands of years, there was only one, this Hongzhi Emperor.

He was not only devoted but kind hearted, diligent, engendering all the merits of a good man,

But it is because he was so good, that there are very few people who would use his story in a novel.

Because there is a lack of melodrama.

Want to write about in-fighting between the imperial concubines, you only married one wife, where is the in-fighting?

Want to write about tactics, when he was on the throne, there were hardly any obstructions, even the cabinet ministers were devoted to aiding him, where are the tactics?

Want to write about history, sorry, he reigned for 18 years and at 39 years old he say byebye.

(Hongzhi Emperor roared: Am I too easy!)

But it was exactly this perfect Emperor who raised a prodigal son, Zhengde Emperor.

To those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Ming Dynasty, you’ve probably still heard of Baofang, Liu Jin1Very powerful and very corrupt Eunuch. More here? That’s right, it’s him.

This was quite an interesting person, but let’s not talk about him now.

What I want to talk about is, for an Emperor, devotion is not always a good thing.

Hongzhi Emperor’s wife, Empress Zhang didn’t end up well.

Because after the Zhengde Emperor died, she didn’t have any more sons or grandsons, so she could only choose Jiajing to succeed the throne.

Jiajing, as you know, was as treacherous as he was smart, Yan Song couldn’t even topple him, how would he have accepted Empress Zhang as his mother?

So Empress Zhang ended up miserable.

Just writing down the order of the Emperors for everyone to read:Starting with the Hongzhi Emperor.

Hongzhi – ZhengdeJiajing(where we are currently in this novel)- LongqingWanli

3 thoughts on “All Under Heaven – Chapter 11”

  1. MXS was like “if no one talks about Hongzhi, I’ll do it” and then we have Chenghua 😂💕 now I’ll take the liberty of thinking Tang Fan and Sui Zhou were out there while this kid is struggling ;w;)9


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