“General.” The personal guard came down from the city wall and walked into the border military camp. He walked in a hurry, with a smile on his face and a beaming look on his face. Those who didn’t know it would have thought he had picked up a lot of money.
Zhu Yuanzhang didn’t put down the book in his hand until he had informed the guards outside of his presence and entered the general’s tent. After the world was at peace, he came to the borders. At that time, Lin Yuan also wrote to him and asked him if he wanted to continue to be a general and be stationed at the borders to guard the Great Ming. If he wanted to go back to the capital, then there would be no shortage of noble titles for him.
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Zhu Yuanzhang still chose to be stationed at the border. He was now married to Ma shi, and the husband and wife have a very good relationship, with two daughters.
Seeing that he would not be able to have a son anytime soon, Zhu Yuanzhang was not in a hurry. Anyway, with his position and rank, he was not afraid that he would not be able to pick a good son-in-law to join the family.
The daughter would stay at her natal home after marriage, and the child born would also be surnamed Zhu. The bloodline of the old Zhu family would not be cut off.
The two daughters also grew up in the military camp on the borders since they were young. They were very good at horseback riding and have developed quite the arm strength. They were as good as ordinary soldiers in archery.
Zhu Yuanzhang was very satisfied, and he was also relieved that his daughters were like this. After he passed on, he was not afraid that his daughters would not be able to have control of the family.
There was also Ma shi. Before they got married, he did not know that she was a woman who was not at all inferior to men in talent and knowledge. A few years ago, there were bandits at the border and he was busy fighting. It was Ma shi who took care of logistics and the reports sent back to the imperial court were also all written by her.
She was also a good hand at home too, everything was clearly taken care of, so when Zhu Yuanzhang went home to rest, he never needed to worry about other things.
Zhu Yuanzhang watched his personal guard come in and smiled, “What are you anxious about?”
The personal guard hurriedly saluted: “General! This subordinate has been watching from the city wall, an envoy team is coming!”
Zhu Yuanzhang stood up. This envoy was someone sent from the capital, who was here to deliver a message on behalf of the emperor.
Coming at this time…..
Zhu Yuanzhang also had a smile on his face.
He used to decline going back to Beijing, but now that he was old, thinking about his entire life as a soldier, it was time to return to Beijing to enjoy his wealth and prosperity.
Besides, there were also a few people who have been promoted at the borders now, and they all hold power in their hands. He had been a general for so many years, if he continued to hog the position, the people below would have difficulty rising up the ranks.
Going at this time was truly a case of the right time and place.
The emperor personally sent someone to invite him, and he was able to step down for his juniors generously. When he returned to Beijing, he had such great achievements that a ducal title would not escape him.
It was just that he didn’t know whether it was Duke of Fu or Duke of Qin, but no matter which one it was, it had both honor and benefits.
In the early years, he also thought that he might be able to get a noble title and become a prince with a different surname. His Majesty also seemed to have this intention back then.
But looking at it now, His Majesty had only made his nephew a prince over so many years, and it was still just a prince of second rank. Moreover, according to the new law, this princely title could not be passed on and instead gradually move towards decline.
His Majesty treated his own family like this, let alone outsiders like them.
Having a ducal title was already quite lucky, Zhu Yuanzhang knew.
This ducal title wouldn’t be able to pass on as well, but with him here, he would be able to guard his two daughters and help the old Zhu family grow and spread its roots. When there was a capable talent among the grandchildren, the Zhu family could also rise up again, after all, their starting point was higher than others.
Besides, His Majesty’s methods have been more tactful in recent years, but the officials in the court have long been trained by the deceased Song Shizhao, and all of them were His Majesty’s yes-mans. It was more difficult for them to go against His Majesty than to have their heads chopped off.
The envoy arrived soon, and Zhu Yuanzhang knelt on the ground and listened to the imperial decree. After the envoy had finished reciting the imperial decree, he raised his head to accept the imperial decree, stood up and said to the envoy, “Lord Zhang has traveled a long way, why don’t you come to my residence and sit down? Have a cup of hot tea?”
The envoy smiled and said, “That would be pleasant, General Zhu, please.”
Zhu Yuanzhang: “Lord Zhang, please.”
The two were not far from the Zhu family’s residence, and the two did not bother to ride horses, talking all the way as they walked.
The envoy said: “This lower official has come here, and there are also others who have gone to General Yang and General Li.”
Zhu Yuanzhang nodded.
The several of them had followed His Majesty before he even started on his path to the imperial throne, and they were all quite older now. They could still lead the troops as they were not too old, after all, there had been many generals in history who continued to serve as generals into their 70s and 80s.
But if they really wait until that time, the dishes would all be cold already.
So don’t even mention a ducal title, it was estimated that they would still only have the title of general even after death. Generals were not precious or rare, one could fill in after one dies.
It was different when having a noble title.
After all, titles could be counted on two hands, just those few, so even if he passed on in the future, with the title of duchess and the daughters of the duke and duchess, his wife and daughters could live well.
However, he could only bless them, and was unable to do the same with his grandchildren, his grandchildren would have to rely on their own abilities.
The envoy went to the embassy to rest, and Zhu Yuanzhang asked his wife and daughters to pack their bags that night. The old servants of the family willing to go to the capital would come with them, and those who did not want to go were given a severance payment. As for the furniture, there was no need to take the big ones as their new home in the capital had already been prepared, but smaller and personal effects were fine.
Zhu Da Niang heard that they were going to the capital, and the girl not yet in her twenties said excitedly, “Dad? We’re really going?”
Zhu Yuanzhang smiled: “Really, Dad will go and beg at that time to see if I can ask for two princesses of the third rank for you and your little sister.”
It was probably impossible to ask for the title of a princess of the second rank, but a princess of the third rank still had hope.
Zhu Da Niang said quickly, “Then I’m going to say goodbye to my friends tomorrow!”
She had a lot of friends. Now the propriety between men and women was not as serious as before, so she had both male and female friends.
Because it was the borders, in order to prevent accidents, daughters also had to learn martial arts, riding and archery. Except for those who were not in good health, most of them were good at riding and archery.
Zhu Xiao Niang was not as bold as her sister, she said timidly: “After going to the capital, the rules will be more strict…..”
Ma shi smiled on the side: “No matter how big the rules are, you are still your father’s daughter. As long as you don’t make big mistakes, who will punish you for your actions? Besides, when you go to the capital, it’s time to discuss your marriage.”
When Ma shi’s words came out, the two girls were a little shy, but Zhu Da Niang was more bold: “Then I want one who has both literary and military skills, but not a sour scholar who can only recite books, nor a silly oaf who only know to use his strength.”
Ma shi was stunned for a moment, and said helplessly: “We’re picking a husband who will marry into the family. Even if you marry into another family, it’s hard to find such talented people, let alone marrying into the wife’s family. As long as he is an honest child, down-to-earth, and knows how to advance or retreat, he will be a good choice.”
Zhu Da Niang’s eyes flickered: “That’s fine, as long as he has good looks!”
Zhu Xiao Niang lowered her head and whispered, “I’m the same as my sister.”
Zhu Yuanzhang laughed loudly: “I will definitely choose two handsome husbands for you both!”
The Zhu family went on the road soon. Zhu Yuanzhang was very popular here, and many people saw him off. Zhu Da Niang sat in the carriage, lifted the curtain and looked at the slowly disappearing city gates behind. Anxiety finally came to her heart, she had never left here before in all her years.
She yearned for Beijing, what kind of place was Beijing? It was the capital of the country, the center of the empire, the place where the emperor lived, and the people there were more proud than the people in other places.
Zhu Da Niang suddenly approached Ma shi, put her head on Ma shi’s shoulder, held Ma shi’s hand, and whispered, “Mother, the young ladies in the capital…..will they look down on me?”
She didn’t know embroidery and other female skills, she didn’t know how to play the guqin or chess, and she only knew a little about painting and calligraphy. She was best at riding and archery.
All her advantages at the border would turn into disadvantages when she went to the capital.
Zhu Xiao Niang was also very afraid and leaned on the other side of Ma shi.
Ma shi knew that whatever she said at this time would be useless, she could only pat her daughters on the back, silently comforting them without saying a word.
It was not very peaceful over there in the capital.
In the beginning, it was just Meng Dalang’s resignation, which was also stopped by the above. It was not so easy for officials to resign, and the court would not easily agree, and of course, officials would not resign easily.
Meng Dalang’s reason was that his father was old and he wanted to take care of his father in his old age, so he could no longer serve the court, and just wanted to be filial as a son.
The words were high-sounding, but those above didn’t believe it at all.
Couldn’t you be filial and be an official at the same time?
What did Meng Dalang mean by doing this? Telling the officials of the court, whose parents were getting old, that they should quickly resign and go back to take care of their old parents?
You are a role model of morality, and we are unfilial if we do not resign?
Anyway, the above suppressed his memorial, so it was useless for Meng Dalang to be anxious. He ran to countless people, and everyone only said: “Only the top can decide, we can’t make the decision.”
So Meng Dalang just waited and waited, until the news that his second and third brothers were escorted back to Beijing.
There was only one charge, malfeasance.
If it was the crime of corruption then there was still salvation, they might be locked up for a few years or a dozen years.
But dereliction of duty…..this was a serious crime, which meant that in addition to embezzling money, they also oppressed the common people, colluded with officials and merchants, and joined factions with other officials.
Malfeasance was a capital offense.
Meng Dalang was stunned when he got the news.
Their family was placed under house arrest in their manor. Before it was found out whether he had colluded with his brothers, Meng Dalang and his family could not step out of the house, not even to see his brothers.
Fortunately, the court moved quickly, and it was found that Meng Dalang did not pass information to them and did not help them in oppressing the common people, so the house arrest was lifted.
However, Meng Dalang was dismissed and would no longer be employed in this life, and his children would not be employed by the court for three generations as well.
His brothers’ children were also not to be used for five generations.
The Meng family’s future had come to an end.
Meng Erlang and Meng Sanlang were sentenced to death and their property confiscated.
But the disaster would not stretch to all family members. Meng Erlang and Meng Sanlang’s wives took their children back to their parents’ homes. The children also took their mother’s surname and no longer took their father’s surname.
Although they still couldn’t take the imperial examinations or become an official, they didn’t have to be looked down upon by others after stepping out in public.
Meng Dalang soon left the capital with his family and went to live in a small town. No one knew that he was ever a Beijing official.
No one knew what kind of ambition he once had.
Meng Dalang regretted it. If, when he received the letter, what he thought was not to protect himself, but to place righteousness before family.
Maybe he would just be dismissed, but his children could still take the imperial exam.
Meng Dalang regretted it deeply.
When their family was leaving the city gates, they saw a procession of horse carriages entering the city with great fanfare.
His youngest daughter asked, “Dad, whose family is that?”
Meng Dalang had a sad and bitter face as he looked at the endless convoy, and said, “It should be the general.”
The youngest daughter still didn’t know what happened to her family, she only knew that they were going to move. She asked curiously, “Is it General Chen?”
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Meng Dalang shook his head: “There are four generals, and the one who came back this time is General Zhu.”
The two carriages crossed paths but went in separate directions.
One went into the city, while the other went out of the city.
Never to meet again in this life.
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