The Yun Prince Estate was large, almost like a miniature version of the palace.
For the sake of its construction, Yun City was extended almost ten kilometers as it added an inner city. The previous Yun City was now known as the outer city.
The Yun Prince Estate’s layout was similar to the palace and of the highest quality. The official residence was at the center with gates in all four directions. It was completely enclosed by walls with a fifteen zhang wide moat surrounding it. This sort of layout made it suitable to call this estate an imperial city, but to avoid the taboo they were usually called estates.
The Yun Prince Estate’s main doors were known as the Gates of Ceremony. The eastern doors were the Gates of Benevolence, the western doors the Gates of Righteousness and the northern doors the Gate of Wisdom. Through the Gates of Ceremony were the Gates of Ascension, as well as the three forward palace halls known as the Hall of Ascension, the Hall of Origin and the Hall of Deliberation. This was where the Yun Prince would conduct his daily affairs. Behind the Hall of Deliberation was the hall where the Yun Prince slept. Apart from the palace halls in the center, the “imperial city” still had three pavilions to the east and west, a library, a retirement hall, a treasury, a place in charge of meals, a place to offer tribute, the six departments, and the employees’ sleeping quarters. The space the estate occupied was enormous.
The Yun Prince Estate’s front and back section was divided by the Hall of Deliberation’s passageways. The front section was where the current prince would handle official business and the back was called the rear court, where he lived with his wife.
Before the Yun Prince Estate was done, Yan Yan had come to take a look.
She had thought the “estate” would be like those buildings in the capital, for example the Weiyuan Marquis Estate and the Zhenguo Duke Estate. Unexpectedly, it turned out to be no less than a miniature city. Luo Huai Yuan told her some of the general information and regulations. Every vassal prince’s estate was this way and their layouts were identical. Of course, some minor changes could be made based on individual preferences.
How many people would it take to fill up such a large estate?
Yan Yan finally understood why a vassal prince’s personal guards weren’t counted in the tens or hundreds, but rather thousands. They were allowed three thousand to ten thousand according to regulations. To guard such a large estate, there truly couldn’t be too few people.
They started getting ready to move once again. This time they were moving from the outer city’s courtyard into the inner city’s prince’s estate.
Everything was packed into boxes and transported to the Yun Prince Estate carriage by carriage. By the time Luo Huai Yuan and Yan Yan moved in, it was already ten days later.
They settled down and rested for two days before starting to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. Actually the Yun Prince Estate was still rather empty. Only the area surrounding the Xianyun Hall was a little livelier. The Xianyun Hall was where Luo Huai Yuan and Yan Yan would live in the future. Luo Huai Yuan had stubbornly insisted on using the words “Xianyun”.
Afterwards, the two of them started getting busy.
Luo Huai Yuan was busy with the vassal state’s affairs and establishing the adjutant’s office’s organization and assigning roles for the vassal state’s officials. Yan Yan was busy organizing the internal affairs, doing her best to make sure everything within the estate was neat and organized.
The Yun Prince Estate started getting on the right track one step at a time.
The internal affairs were handled by the palace maids and eunuchs. The place was too big and there were too many things to handle so they couldn’t lead by example as before. With the help of Matron Zou and a few managing aunties, Yan Yan set up a series of regulations for the estate that included reward and punishment. Everything would proceed according to these rules.
The Yun Prince Estate wasn’t like other places after all. It was the central government of the vassal state. The daily affairs were conducted on the inside. If there was no order, they would end up being secretly laughed at. Therefore, Yan Yan spent quite a lot of effort.
Compared to Yan Yan, Luo Huai Yuan was suffering a lot more. Not only did he have to plan things in general, he also had to build up his group of trusted personal guards. More importantly, prior to the arrival of the court-appointed Left Adjutant, he had to set up the adjutant’s office and its subsidiaries.
If he had an adjutant’s office that was completely loyal to himself, their head, the Left Adjutant, would no longer need to be feared.
This was something he had learned from the Jin Province’s Jin Prince. The Jin Prince had used his connections to completely make a figurehead out of the court-appointed Left Adjutant. However, this was a lot harder for Luo Huai Yuan to implement. After all, the Jin Prince was somone many officials in court viewed as a potential successor. The Yun Prince was just a freeloading vassal prince waiting to die.
Comparisons caused people to get angry and objects to get thrown away. The same matter was easily handled by the Jin Prince. He didn’t even have to do anything and people would suck up to him. When it came to Luo Huai Yuan, he had to put in a lot of thought and effort.
Furthermore, he had extremely few people he could use. There were many things involved in running a vassal state. These things couldn’t be done by anyone off the street. Luo Huai Yuan could only try a different approach and become a recruiter of talent, looking for good seeds everywhere.
Luckily Luo Huai Yuan had two lifetimes’ worth of experience. He had long since secretly invested in quite a few businesses within the Yun Province’s borders. His information network also encompassed the entire province. It wasn’t too difficult to get information about the officials here. Of course, he wasn’t just limiting himself to these officials. Those officials were low in ranking and some weren’t even ranked. They could only serve as assistants.
That’s right. Luo Huai Yuan was planning to excavate the large corner that was the court.
He was the one responsible for his vassal state’s relocation orders after all. Whenever he scouted someone, the court would fill up the opening. The lower ranked officials in court were ultimately better than anyone Luo Huai Yuan could raise by himself. Of course, those people naturally wouldn’t be loyal or treat this place as their home. But they ultimately had desires and it was fine as long as he could fulfill them. This was why Luo Huai Yuan had set his sights on people like registrars and minor functionaries. This was because it was extremely hard for those who didn’t pass the imperial exam to advance. The Yun Prince could give them the opportunity to do so and they would naturally know who to be loyal to.
This sounded easy but couldn’t be accomplished overnight.
Before the arrival of the Left Adjutant, Luo Huai Yuan merely set up the overall framework.
Sun Shi Min was someone from the Chao Province. He was fifty-three years old and stubborn in nature. He was given the nicknames “old pedant” and “old stick”.
Someone like this naturally didn’t understand how to advance his career. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be assigned as an adjutant to a vassal state.
The adjutant was someone who gave vassal princes quite the headache but the posting wasn’t high in rank. It was merely a major fifth-rank position. This was an example of a low-ranked posting with a lot of influence. A fourth-ranked governor like Qian Cheng Qi and other officials within the Yun Province had to accept the adjutant’s regulations.
Of course, this was just within the Yun Province. Outside, only ghosts would recognize whatever adjutant’s status. This was also why many officials weren’t willing to take this post. There were too many things involved and it also felt a little outside the system. Luckily, the adjutant’s posting was only for three years so there wasn’t any need for excessive worry.
Sun Shi Min was serious in nature. Before coming to the Yun province, he had thoroughly memorized all the adjutant’s responsibilities. As the head official of the adjutant’s office, his most important task was to help the Yun Prince become a vassal prince liked by the court.
What kind of vassal prince did the court like?
Sun Shi Min naturally had some thoughts in mind.
Therefore, after he arrived at the Yun Prince Estate, the first thing he did was to see how the vassal state’s citizens were doing, how they were taxed and also the Yun Prince’s personal situation.
After getting to know these things, Sun Shi Min started appearing in front of the Yun Prince continuously, reminding him of what he should wear and how he should walk. Luo Huai Yuan even had to ask him for permission before constructing a garden behind the Xianyun Hall to let him and his consort admire the view. Every word out of his mouth was either “not allowed” or that it “went against regulations”.
This would have been fine, but he even started nosing into the Yun Prince’s personal life. After finding out he only had a single consort, he frequently admonished him to take in some concubines. Only this way can he help propogate the Luo surnamed royal family.
From an outsider’s perspective, this Adjutant Sun was a pain. He didn’t take care of the things he should, and insisted on sticking his nose into things he shouldn’t.
But Luo Huai Yuan could understand him. This was because the court liked a good vassal prince. What was a good vassal prince? Naturally it was one who didn’t involve himself with proper matters.
To put it into modern words, it would be one who had more children and planted less trees.
This was why Sun Shi Min kept his eye on Luo Huai Yuan and recommended he set up his harem.
Many things was different in this life. In his past life, the Yun Province’s Left Adjutant wasn’t this Sun Shi Min. This sort of adjutant made Luo Huai Yuan feel at ease yet also annoyed. He felt at ease because he didn’t bother with the proper matters which allowed him to do many things secretly. He was annoyed because he kept getting fussed at and urged to take in concubines. This was truly quite annoying.
In the back, Yan Yan also knew about Sun Shi Min’s actions. If it weren’t for Luo Huai Yuan saying that someone like him made it easier for them to do things secretly, Yan Yan would have long since taught this old stick a lesson.
Yan Yan chose to turn a blind eye to things. After all, Luo Huai Yuan was being fussed at, not her.
This sort of weird situation remained until Sun Shi Min realized the Yun Prince “refused to be taught”. He decided to fulfill one of his responsibilities as adjutant….
To address and rectify the prince’s mistakes.
He was planning on submitting a memorandum to the court regarding the Yun Prince’s lack of children and concubines to have Emperor Xi properly admonish this disobedient son.
Furthermore, this person was extremely inflexible. Prior to tattling, he still notified Luo Huai Yuan. Actually he wasn’t really notifying, but rather threatening. But since he was using it as threat, it also counted as a notification.
Luo Huai Yuan was pondering how to deal with this old pedant when Yan Yan received the news and came over.
As the Yun Consort, Yan Yan was overbearing and unyielding, but that was just occasionally. She understood that often times, the man was supposed to be in charge. If she wasn’t angered, she would always give Luo Huai Yuan a lot of face in front of others.
In the entire Yun Prince Estate, she only focused on playing her role and managing the internal affairs. She never asked about the external affairs. This was the first time she appeared in the front part of the Yun Prince Estate. She was provoked to do so by that stubborn old man.
Sun Shi Min was in the adjutant’s office writing quickly, preparing to seal the memorandum and send it out. The office doors were kicked open by someone. He raised his head and saw the uniquely beautiful Yun Consort dressed in her royal outfit.
Behind her was a eunuch and a palace maid. Further behind was a group of major and minor officials of the adjutant office’s subsidiaries. They were all whispering to each other, their expressions weird.