All Under Heaven – Chapter 20

Zhu Yijun stared at him, saying a word at the time: "If, you, can’t, keep, your, word, you, will, get, fat!”
Zhao Su didn’t say a word. He heard that there was someone outside the door.

Zhao Rong hurriedly went over to open the door, he recognised the person at the door, it was a servant from the Prince of Yu Manor.

“Su gongzi, my master the Prince would like to invite you over to the manor.”

Since the first day they met, the Prince of Yu had invited Zhao Su over to the manor three or four more times, because he spoke of new and strange things, including things about the West or of East Asian countries.

And for Zhao Su, when he went to the Prince of Yu Manor, he was also to learn something new, as the three tutors were very knowledgeable, and they were not like Zhao Su who could speak idly about far away lands. As it turns out, the Prince of Yu was also not an old-fashioned person.

In Zhao Su’s opinion, the Prince of Yu was actually very easy to get along with, he was good-tempered and not at all like his father. Because of his precarious situation, he did not put on airs in front of Zhao Su. Aside from the fact that he was a bit lazy and his vice for beautiful women, he didn’t have any major shortcomings.

“I will go over now, please wait a second.” At this time, Zhao Su didn’t really feel like going to see the Prince of Yu, but being stuck at home, he wouldn’t have thought of any way to help Zhao Nuan so he thought he might as well go.

Zhao Rong cut in: “Master Su, perhaps the Prince could help, could you ask him to speak to the Embroidered Uniform Guards…”

Zhao Su’s mouth twitched, the Prince of Yu was a Prince but his status was no better than a normal Official, if his words had any sway, pigs could climb trees.

He said to Chen Zhu: “Bo Xun, could I trouble you to do something.”

“Go on.”

“I’m going to write a letter, could I trouble you to take it over to the Commander of the Embroidered Uniform Guards, Liu Shouyou, Liu da-ren.”

Chen Zhu was slightly taken aback: “Liu da-ren?”

Zhao Rong eyes widened: “Master, you even know the Commander of the Embroidered Uniform Guards, will he see you?”


Zhao Su didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and went into his room to get changed, and then left with the servant from the Prince of Yu manor.

When he arrived, he realised that the person who wanted to see him wasn’t the Prince of Yu but it was the little kid, Zhu Yijun.

The child had his robes hiked up and he was squatting near a tree stump, he was shaking his head from side to side.

Zhao Su went closer, and he squatted down like him, to discover the little child was actually looking at ants.

Zhu Yijun cocked his head, he got straight to the point: “Where’s my candied hawthorns?”

Zhao Su was taken aback, he scratched his nose: “I forgot to buy them, can I make it up to you next time?”
Zhao Yijun stared at him, saying a word at the time: “If, you, can’t, keep, your, word, you, will, get, fat!”

A solemn expression was on his face, he was deeply resentful.

Zhao Su couldn’t resist laughing: “I’m already skin and bone, getting a bit fatter is okay, what do you think, Your Highness?”

“I don’t care, I want candied hawthorns, you promised me some, I’ll tell mother you’re bullying me!” said the child shamelessly.

Zhao Su was originally feeling very worried but his mood was elevated greatly. He picked up Zhao Yijun and smiled: “You’re already chubby so you shouldn’t eat sweets, how about tomorrow I take you out to eat sauteed liver1炒肝 Chaogan is a Chinese dish which is especially famous in Beijing. Chaogan is made from pork liver, pork intestine and starch, seasoning with garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. and Zhajiang mian2炸酱面 Zhajiangmian, or “noodles with soybean paste”, is a Chinese dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with zhajiang sauce.?”

Although this child was the son of a prince and the grandson of the Emperor, due to his upbringing he was indeed spoiled but not to an excessive amount. Although he was greedy, he was not obnoxious. He felt chubby and soft in Zhao Su’s arms and even had a scent of sweet milk so Zhao Su really liked him.

At the same, Zhu Yijun also really liked Zhao Su, perhaps because there weren’t many people around him who would play with him, or perhaps it was because Zhao Su treated him less respectfully than for example Feng Bao, and wasn’t strict like Gao Gong and the others.

As soon as he heard the word food, his eyes lit up.

“When are we going!”

“Lower your voice” Zhao Su purposely tried to scare him, “Do you want to let your Feng da-ban hear and then tell your mother and father?”

Zhu Yijun covered his mouth, and then whispered in his ear, very quietly: “I want to go out and play, I want to eat some tasty treats, candied hawthorns, twenty sticks…”

He still couldn’t forget these twenty sticks of candied hawthorns.

Zhao Su thought that this child was just too cute, beaming with smiles, he stroked his head: “Thinking about it, it’s almost Lunar New Year, on the second day of the New Year, I’ll come to pay my respects and at the same time I’ll take you out to play, how about that?”

“You’re not allowed to trick me!” The little child, Zhu Yijun, was so happy that his little body was swaying from side to side.

“It’s a deal.”

After appeasing the little tiger, Zhao Su was requested to go to the main hall by the Prince of Yu, where he discovered Gao Gong and the others were also present, and he quickly greeted them before exchanging a few plaisanteries.

Gao Gong waved his hands, he was evidently not in a great mood: “Shaoyong, you don’t need to be so polite, we are all so familiar now, come over and sit.”

Zhao Su saw that they were all looking quite down in the dumps, so he asked “Prince of Yu and esteemed gentlemen, you’re all looking quite down, has something happened?”

Chen Yiqin said: “Have you heard about the Prince of Ying and his recent offering of auspicious gifts?”  

Zhao Su nodded.

Since ancient times, in order to know the fate of the heavens and destiny, a sea of auspicious items were created, and one more would not have caused a big disturbance. The problem was that Jiajing is very superstitious and even more he had a strong belief in auspicious objects. In the past, there were even more people who would offer up auspicious items, which caused a fair share of mockery, after that, things gradually died down. The Prince of Jing chose to send the fox and the eagle at this point in time, to solidify his position in his father’s heart.
Jiajing was indeed pleased, placing these two items in Xiyuan3lit. West Park – it is a garden within the Forbidden City and going to see them everyday. He also allowed the Prince of Jing to enter the palace. Father and son sent all the servants away, so it was not known what they had discussed behind closed doors. But it was said that when the Prince of Ying left the palace, he was brimming with smiles, looking like he was walking on air.

In comparison, things on the Prince of Yu’s side were becoming evermore gloomy, due to Jiajing’s suspicious nature, he didn’t permit his son to have any contact with other high-ranking court officials, so aside from Gao Gong and the others, there was no one who dared to set foot in the manor.

Now the problem was that the Prince of Yu and the others had already agreed to use the little prince as an inroad to the Emperor. But the Emperor actually said that he was not feeling well, and was temporarily not accepting any visitors. Previously, his attitude to Zhu Yijun had been different and he had at least showed some tender love.

The Prince of Yu was not allowed to enter the palace, he spent all day closed off in his own manor, worried sick without any news from the Emperor. He didn’t even feel like looking at beautiful ladies as he was too afraid that the Emperor would depose of him and exile him off to some faraway remote place.

The Prince of Yu sighed, Gao Gong and the others’ mood were naturally similar to the Prince’s.

Since they were Officials of the Prince of Yu, they were all in the same boat. From the moment they entered the manor, they knew that riches were not necessarily shared but the difficulties definitely would be. If the Prince of Yu fell, there was no point in them even thinking of climbing back up again. Bad was bad, their words carried very little weight, even if they tried to ask around other colleagues who were a little better off compared to themselves, they still wouldn’t even able to find out anything.

Aside from the people who were the closest to Jiajing, who else would be able to give them an answer?

Yin Shidan said: “How about we bribe someone to ask Huang Jin, he serves His Majesty day in and day out, so he must know something.”

Gao Gong rejected his idea: “We can’t do that, Huang Jin’s position is unclear, last time I saw him talking closely with Yan Shifan, what if he tells His Majesty, we’d be screwed.”

Chen Yiqin spread out his hands: “But we still can’t sit here and do absolutely nothing, the situation is extremely precarious, his Highness and the Prince of Ying are contenders for the throne, if Huang Jin was clever, then he wouldn’t try to offend us a time like this.”

The Prince of Yu had been listening to the discussion and couldn’t help but say something, he stammered: “my three tutors, you are all overly worried, my father is upright and magnificent, according to his personality, he won’t name an heir so quickly…”

Gao Gong butted in: “Our fears are not completely groundless, three years ago, His Majesty was suffering from an illness and Li Shizhen was asked to enter the palace. Does your Highness still remember what he said to His Majesty?”

The Prince of Yu was taken aback, he thought about it thoroughly but really can’t recall the incident.

He couldn’t really be blamed for not remembering, given the Emperor’s attitude towards him, he had never been very concerned with his father’s affairs.

Gao Gong sighed heavily: “Li Shizhen said, His Majesty had been over-consuming the immortality elixirs, if His Majesty stopped immediately, he could help His Majesty to slowly recover but if his Majesty continued his use of the elixir even an immortal wouldn’t be able to save him. With his capabilities, he could only…”

“Extend his life for another three to five years only.” Yin Shidan cut in.

This was no secret, Li Shizhen was skilled in medicine, he left his post as an imperial physician, to wander the lands aiding the poor citizens of the land, he was widely recognised and the words that he had said to the Emperor had also been spread widely, so Gao Gong and the others didn’t bother to hide it from Zhao Su.

Li Shizhen was frank, but Jiajing of course didn’t listen to him. The physician wanted him to stop using the immortality elixir, but what about his long standing dream of achieving immortality, this was equal to killing him, so he continued to take the elixir, continued to be the Emperor and the days passed like this.
“Even if Li Shizhen was exaggerating, anyone with eyes can see the state of the Emperor’s health” Gao Gong sighed deeply, intentionally casting a glance over at Zhao Su.

“Plus last month, he even fainted.”

Chen Yiqin said: “So, we must secure His Highness’s position early, in case of unexpected changes.”   

Gao Gong turned to Zhao Su: “Shaoyong, have you heard anything from your teacher?”

At this point, Zhao Su fully understood their purpose of calling him over.

It was to tell Zhao Su: From now on, you are on the same boat as us, advance together, retreat together.

As he was only a provincial exam graduate, Zhao Su had no power or position in the imperial court, so they weren’t actually bothered about Zhao Su. The person they were trying to get on board with was his teacher, Dai Gongwang.

Dai Gongwang achieved jinshi in the 26th year of Jiajing, during this year, there were quite a few talents to arise, including Li Chunfang who was one of the Head of the Six Ministries, the unyielding and fearless Yang Jisheng, and even Zhang Juzheng who wasn’t a big name currently, but would become infamous in the future. Dai Gongwang had vast connections and was also a follower of the School of Mind. Although, at the moment, he had been sent off to Outer Mongolia because of Yan Shifan, those connections were still there.

Dai Gongwang didn’t have children, Yuan Shu was assigned to a far off place, so Zhao Su who was his proud student, and with a bright future ahead of him would naturally inherit these contacts. Although he wasn’t able to use these contacts at the moment, it didn’t mean they were not useful.

If Zhao Su was seen standing with the Prince of Yu, Dai Gongwang was also naturally on the same side.

So, although he was just a juren, he was able to come and go from the Prince’s manor, be received in the hall and Gao Gong and the others were happy to speak freely in front of Zhao Su.

Realising this, Zhao Su wasn’t angry.

With others trying to win you over, indicates that you are still useful. Plus, Gao Gong and the others were not Yan Shifan, so it could do no harm to him to get closer to them.

All in all, this was a win-win situation.

And then Zhao Su had a flash of inspiration, this new relationship could help him solve the situation with Zhao Nuan, he thought to himself perhaps it was not completely hopeless.

He made his decision and said slowly: “I wonder if Your Highness has ever thought about seeking out Xu da-ren?”

Prince of Yu didn’t react: “Which Xu da-ren?”

Gao Gong raised an eyebrow: “Are you talking about Xu Jie?”


Gao Gong shook his head and smiled coldly: “He follows Yan Song and his son, why would he help us. Don’t you know, he even let his own granddaughter marry Yan Shifan’s son as a concubine, this news was spread through the whole of the Capital…”

He suddenly stopped talking mid-phrase, he suddenly thought of something, Xu Jie was a follower of the School of Mind, and he was actually a very loyal member of the School of Mind. When he was a County Magistrate, he had even built a statue of Wang Yangming4Reminder: In Chapter 4 – Zhao Su picks up a book on his teacher’s table and it is by Wang Yangming and the School of Mind is discussed in detail. So if you are confused about this you can go back and read that chapter.. Plus, Zhao Su’s teacher Dai Gongwang was also a follower of the school of Mind, so the two were connected in that way.

“What do you mean?” asked Gao Gong in a low voice.
Zhao Su smiled: “Tutor Gao don’t get worked up and first listen to what I have to say, with the current political climate, without aligning with the Yan family, is it possible to have a footing within the Grand Secretariat?”

The answer was of course that it was impossible, but Gao Gong didn’t say a word, waiting for him to continue.

Zhao Su continued: “If Secretary Xu hadn’t suffered in silence, he would have ended up like my teacher, then, who would be able to protect those who didn’t stand up to Yan Song and his son?”

Chen Yiqin shook his head: “Shaoyong, that’s easy to say, but the Emperor has ordered that the Princes cannot have any meetings with the high-ranking officials. How could we possibly go and see Xu Jie, and find out what he has in mind?”

Zhao Su got up and cupped his hands together: “I, Shaoyong, am willing to go to Xu manor.”

Later in the evening, Zhao Su had just arrived home and Chen Zhu, who had been waiting impatiently for him, said: “You’re finally back!”

Zhao Su asked: “What happened?”

“It’s rare to see Bo Xun-xiong panicked like a mouse crossing the street.”

“I can’t believe that you can still laugh and joke, word has come from the Embroidered Uniform Guard, Liu da-ren wishes to see you!”  
Translator Note:

We have reached the half-way point of the first arc (o^▽^o).
13/12/21 – Typos fixed, notes added

3 thoughts on “All Under Heaven – Chapter 20”

  1. Ay I’m really enjoying this story so far. The translation is really well done, the reading is without issues. Thank you for the hard work, impatiently awaiting the next chapters ~


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