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    So, erm… Yeah, I picked this up remembering I read it few years ago. But, seeing the previous translator dropped it because of various reasons, I decided to give it a go since I love the intricate politics inside this novel plus the Hyang’s whims trying to outsmart the people around him. Please be noted, that the translations are a combination of my poor Korean skills, MTL softwares, dictionaries and help from my friend who’s studying Korean Language as their major.

    For footnotes, just click on the number next to the words, and a popup will show up. I suggest you read the footnotes to fully grasp the context of the story. Warning, all the chapters will have an unsurmountable of footnotes. I can’t really help it, since I think it’s necessary. I guess it’s similar to extra notes at the end of every manhwa chapters like ORV.


    The dialogue “The king struck the crown prince with a club,” and “The officials received insults from the king” began to spread as rumors throughout the capital city. Although the officials who were worried about losing face ordered people to keep quiet, it was only a matter of time before those who liked to talk would start speaking, unless it was a matter of national secrecy.

    As a result, the rumor spread at the speed of light, and within five days, there was not a single person living in the capital city of Hanyang[1] who did not know about the incident. Most of the common people who heard the rumor supported the crown prince’s words, except for the conservative aristocrats.

    “Ah! There is nothing wrong with what the crown prince said! Every time those damn envoys from the Ming come, there is endless complaining!!”

    “Yes!”

    “Owner[2], bring us a pot of makgeolli! We should drink on a day like today!”

    As many people in the capital expressed their support for the crown prince, similar-aged boys who resembled him, unintentionally had to shed their blood. They were boys who were similar to him in their background, ranging from the grandsons and great-grandsons of courtiers to the sons of farmers, and all had to endure similar insults.

    “The crown prince is already so proficient in his studies that he can debate with the officials, but what are you doing? You can barely read the Thousand Character Classic! Is this the reputation of our family?”

    “I-I’m sorry! Grandfather, This grandson will try harder…”

    “Shut up! Ah Beom-a! Bring me a club!”

    “The crown prince is even dealing with those arrogant officials, but you, you brat, are just causing trouble in the neighborhood! Come here! Let’s teach you a lesson today! Anyone[3]! Bring a thick club!”

    While sons and grandsons were being beaten with insults and clubs by their grandfathers and fathers, the interest of the women who had taken over the aristocrats’ inner quarters, starting with Lady Jeonggyeong[4], turned to something else.

    “I wonder how the crown prince’s mother raised him.”

    “We are also curious.”

    “We want to ask, but since the crown prince’s mother’s relatives were killed in the previous rebellion…”

    The women who were looking for a connection with the crown prince’s mother found a connection with Lady Yeongbin Gang[5], who was the consort of King Sejong.

    “As far as I know, the crown prince learned on his own.”

    “Really…”

    Lady Yeongbin Gang’s words disappointed the women greatly.

    “The way the crown prince teaches his younger brothers is amazing.”

    “His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince is not only exceptional at studying, but also excellent at teaching.”

    “Pardon?”

    “The way Crown Prince taught his younger siblings was very impressive.”

    ◈◈◈

    Hyang, who was worried about how to educate his younger siblings, especially Su-yang, finally came to a conclusion: “It’s unreasonable to punish someone before they’ve done anything wrong. Don’t push them until they die! No, push them until they die, and then push them once more!”

    After reaching a conclusion, Hyang immediately put it into action. “If I’m going to do it properly, I need to make them learn from a properly trained person!”

    And after confirming the reality, Hyang slapped his hand on his forehead, “You haven’t even learned the Thousand Character Classic yet… How am I going to deal with this…?”

    When Queen Soheon heard a rumor that Hyang was lamenting about his younger siblings’ academic achievements, she summoned him and said, “My prince, it’s only because Crown Prince is exceptionally talented, not because your siblings are falling behind.”

    “Oh my god, even my younger siblings are of the same bloodline as Father. It is an undeniable fact that Father has passed the imperial examination with the highest score, and behaving like this is an unfilial act that tarnishes his reputation. As his son, I cannot bear to see this.”

    “Those deceitful guys, trying to trick me will only burn themselves!”[6]

    With a resolute determination, Hyang thought of a way to help his younger siblings with their studies.

    “First of all, I need to make sure they learn the Thousand Character Classic properly…”

    Hyang soon found a solution to the educational problem of his two younger siblings, Su-yang and An-pyeong. His solution was flashcards.

    He then ordered the production of flashcards from painting bereau[7] (Do Hwa Won). Thick pieces of wood were covered with paper on both sides and on one side, four-character phrases from the Thousand Character Classic were written, while on the other side, a drawing that depicted the meaning of the sentence was added.

    In addition to the Thousand Character Classic flashcards, Hyang added competition in addition to the “carrot and stick approach”—mainly with the use of snacks, as well as “a sense of rivalry” to teach Su-yang and An-pyeong. With the appropriate use of a whip, the education proceeded, resulting in Su-yang and An-pyeong mastering the Thousand Character Classic in just 40 days.

    Hyang’s education did not stop with the Thousand Character Classic. Using pictures that depicted the contents of the scriptures, he explained them in the form of storytelling and engaged Su-yang and An-pyeong in learning.

    “Since my younger siblings seem to be following along well, it would be best to continue with this method of education for the time being.”

    “I am greatly impressed by the Crown Prince’s methods of discipline!” The princes’ assistants who had been struggling with the education of the two younger princes—especially Su-yang, and had spent a long time in the royal court, admired the prince’s methods and bowed their heads in respect.

    “Pardon us, but how long will we be using this method?”

    “We need to refine their attitudes before they can approach the Four Books and the Five Classics, so until then, this should be sufficient.”

    “Very well.”

    Meanwhile, when King Sejong heard reports that Hyang had come up with a unique method to help his younger siblings with their studies, he was delighted and pounded his knee.

    “He truly is a Crown Prince! Truly a great teacher!”

    ◈◈◈

    After hearing about the method and results of education in the royal palace through Lady Yeongbin Gang, the women’s bodies trembled with excitement and their hips shook.

    “How can we obtain the educational tools that Crown Prince created?”

    “Crown Prince instructed to keep them well-preserved for use in teaching his younger siblings.”

    “Oh…”

    “How can we obtain them?”

    “Well, I’m not sure…” As Lady Yeongbin Gang made an awkward expression, the impatient women began to pressure their husbands.

    “Your Excellency! Please speak to the prince about it!”

    “Oh… my reputation…”

    “Your Excellency! Is your reputation more important than your grandson’s education? He is the future of our family!”

    “Uh… okay…”

    In the end, the government officials couldn’t bear the women’s pleas and decided to find a solution.

    “What’s the matter?”

    “Well, the thing is…”

    Upon hearing the officials’ explanation, Lady Yeongbin Gang let out a bitter laugh. “What am I, some sort of peddler?!”

    Anyway, the officials’ complaints led to a decision by Lady Yeongbin Gang.

    “We can sell the educational tools for the Thousand Character Classic. But we need someone who can teach it properly, and those people are hard to come by. So we’ll only teach up to the Thousand Character Classic. Is that acceptable?”

    After a brief consideration, the officials nodded their heads. Their grandsons were at the age to learn the Thousand Character Classic after all.

    “Just the Thousand Character Classic would be enough. Thank you. How much is it?”

    “It’s one hundred bags of rice.”

    “One hundred bags of rice!”

    As the officials gasped at the unexpected price, Lady Yeongbin Gang explained the reason. “Among the one hundred bags of rice, one part will be used to pay for the cost of creating the educational tools, one part will be given to the artists in the painting department for their work, one part will go to the state treasury, and the last remaining part is for my personal use.”

    “What will you use it for?”

    “Well, the cost of making the books is quite high.”[8]

    One hundred bags of rice were not a small amount of money. However, the women, who were devoted to their children’s education, paid without hesitation. As a result, the artists in the painting bureau received an unexpected bonus and cheered, and as for Lady Yeongbin Gang, she smiled contently as she looked at the pile of rice bags in the corner of the Eastern Palace.

    “Now I can pursue my own interests with peace of mind.”

    ◈◈◈

    Amidst the turmoil caused by the scent-driven[9] upheavals in the palace, time passed, and the funeral period of King Taejong was almost coming to an end. On September 6th, they went to Hyeonreung[10] (Royal Tomb) to pay respects to the deceased.

    On September 18th, King Sejong and the officials gathered at Gwanghwamun[11] Palace to perform the Jolgeokje[12] (memorial) ceremony. After that, for the first time since King Taejong’s death, meat[13] was presented to King Sejong. At the end of the Jolgeokje ceremony, King Sejong and the officials dressed in white court robes with black hats and black belts.

    On September 20th, they performed a ritual[14] to appease the ancestors with owl calls.

    On September 21st, King Sejong and the officials finally returned to the Pyeonjeon[15] Palace (temporary palace) to attend to state affairs.

    ◈◈◈

    As the court returned to Pyeonjeon Palace and resumed its formal duties, the royal government began to regain its footing. They distributed precise scales and strengthened the regulations for those entering and exiting the palace, all in an effort to restore stability to the country that had been somewhat lax during the funeral of King Taejong. King Sejong and his regents were busy trying to accomplish this task.

    However, King Sejong and his regents were not the only ones who were busy. King Sejong had fulfilled his promise and invited the scholars to participate in a ritual (Kyeongyeon)[16] debate. But King Sejong’s event was not simply about lecturing on Confucian classics.

    “From the Book of Poetry…”

    Starting with a reference to a section of Confucian classics, King Sejong and his regents engaged in a heated debate. The debate intensified not only because of the different interpretations of the classics but also because of how Confucian ideals could be applied in actual policy.

    “Your Majesty! The principles of sincerity and honesty are like gold and jade threads. It is essential that you keep this in mind and abide by them!”

    The officials’ arguments generally maintained the same premise as above. The writings in the classics were the teachings left behind by Confucius and Mencius, so the king must wholeheartedly follow those teachings.

    “It is the duty of the state to cultivate its people! In cultivating the people, justice and virtue take precedence!”

    While the deeply committed scholars of the Sunggyunkwan[17] advocated for the supremacy of virtue over wealth[18] and for placing moral values above personal gain, those who supported King Sejong’s policies, including the promotion of practical benefits and the inclusion of commoners, engaged in heated debates with them.

    “If you read the Daewu-mo from the Book of Rites, it is clear that the Confucian scholars considered ‘governing the world and benefiting the people’— to be the ideal of virtuous rule.”

    “Confucius emphasized the importance of enriching the people before educating them, while Mencius believed that providing people with a stable livelihood is the foundation for realizing the the Way of Kings[19].”

    The chariots that dismantled the scholarly orthodoxy and rejected Sunggyunkwan’s neo-Confucianism were led by King Sejong and his son, Crown Prince Yi Hyang. After a fierce debate during a competition, the exhausted and sweaty senior scholars were forced to retreat.

    “I thought the Crown Prince was only skilled in miscellaneous studies…”

    “You still think that way even after what happened last time?”

    “This is the first time in my life that I’m afraid of the royal examinations.”

    “Wouldn’t it be better to ask for a reduction in the number of exams rather than asking for it to be easier?”

    During the reigns of Taejo and Taejong, officials who used to argue that kings who avoided taking the royal examinations should be caught and forced to take them now found themselves thinking about reducing the number of exams.

    While the officials were on the brink of death, Sejong couldn’t help but smile. Since he ascended to the throne, he had constantly been under pressure from his officials. Dealing with many officials at the same time was difficult, even for Sejong, who was known for his academic prowess. It was like the saying, “One hand can’t pull two hands.” Sometimes through negotiation, sometimes through avoiding confrontation, Sejong led his administration, but it was hard to withstand the overwhelming force of the officials.

    “If I had more officials who shared my vision…” After difficult debates with his officials, Sejong always lamented like this.

    People like Hwang Hui and Maeng Sa-seong[20] were still in lower positions, and there were too few reform-minded courtiers. In such a situation, it was a blessing from heaven that Prince Hyang showed exceptional ability. Even though he was only 9 years old, far from the age of aspiration[21], his academic achievement was on par with his own, and his ability to debate was sharper than his own. When he opened his mouth, even the former king Taejong and the ministers he had worked so hard to raise would be silenced by Prince Hyang’s arguments.

    Perhaps because of the relief of mental burden thanks to Hyang, King Sejong also regained his physical vitality. From some point, many of the illnesses that had been bothering him, such as tuberculosis, disappeared, and even headaches and shoulder stiffness disappeared.

    “The saying that a child is a treasure seems to be true.”

    “Hahaha! If others hear what the king said now, they will say he’s lost his mind.”

    “You!” Thanks to Hyang, every time King Sejong faced Queen Soheon, he became nervous. However, there was only one moment when even King Sejong felt burdened by Hyang.

    It was during mealtime.

    “Oh my goodness! I told you not to eat only meat!”

    “You brat! You shouldn’t even touch anything except meat when you eat!”

    “It’s because dogs eat meat that I don’t touch it! Eating in harmony is the beginning of keeping your health, Father!”

    To protect King Sejong’s health, Hyang scolded him at every meal, and the officials followed them, and recorded the incident.


    Translator’s Notes

    Hope you enjoyed this chapter! For faster updates, join Blossom Translation’s discord and get this novel role there!

    1. ‘Capital city of Joseon’[]
    2. The raws states 주모 (jumo) = A calling for female pub owner.[]
    3. Calling for servants[]
    4. A title for wife of high officials[]
    5. I believe it is Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Jinji Gang clan, based on history.[]
    6. Ermm, I guess his siblings complained to their mom. Lol[]
    7. An institution where it is responsible for producing official documents and records in the Joseon dynasty.[]
    8. So, she likes books???[]
    9. “평지풍파(平地風波)” is an idiom that literally means “a windstorm on a plain” but is used to describe political turmoil or chaos.[]
    10. 헌릉” refers to the Royal Tomb, which is the burial site of a king or queen of the Joseon Dynasty. It was built to honor the monarch’s memory and to provide a place for ancestral rites.[]
    11. “광효전(廣孝殿)” is one of the main halls in Gyeongbokgung Palace, where the king held official ceremonies and meetings with his ministers.[]
    12. “졸곡제사(卒哭祭祀)” is a ceremony held to mourn the death of a king or an emperor[]
    13. Eating meat is not allowed during the mourning period.[]
    14. “액막이 제사” is a ritual to appease the ancestors by calling owls. In Korean folklore, owls are believed to be messengers of the underworld and have the power to communicate with the dead.[]
    15. “편전(便殿)” is a temporary palace used for state affairs when the main palace is under repair or unavailable.[]
    16. Kyeongyeon (경연) was a Confucian ritual that involved interpreting classical texts. The king would invite scholars and officials to participate in the ceremony and discuss the texts’ meaning and implications for governance.[]
    17. Sunggyunkwan: It was the National Confucian Academy during the Joseon Dynasty, responsible for training officials and promoting Confucianism as the official state ideology[]
    18. Deokbonjaemal (德本財末): This phrase means “virtue before wealth,” indicating the belief that moral values should be prioritized over personal gain.[]
    19. Wangdo (王道): This phrase means “the Way of Kings,” indicating the ideal of virtuous rule, which emphasizes the importance of the ruler’s moral character and the well-being of the people over personal gain.[]
    20. “황희와 맹사성” – Hwang Hui and Maeng Sa-seong were two officials who were known for their reformist ideas, but they were still in lower positions at the time.[]
    21. “지학” (志學) refers to the age of aspirations in the traditional Korean system, which was around 15 years old. It was the age when young men were expected to start pursuing their aspirations and careers.[]
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