Ch12 – Who are you referring to?

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The man called himself Ma San and said he was the drillmaster of this “patrol camp.” He explained to Du Ci: The “patrol camp” was a civic organization established to guard Mountain Zhang.
Because this mountain is essential to the people who live on this mountain, the members take turns safeguarding it against natural disasters, such as wildfires.
It sounds very reasonable.

Du Ci asked, “Then, how did you recognize this prince?” 

Ma San replied, “This lowly servant has seen the little prince’s valiant appearance, and so was able to recognize you.”

“You saw this prince? But this prince has never left the Royal City?”



“Everyone knows the little prince is favored by the emperor.
Some painters drew your heroic appearance, and this lowly servant was fortunate enough to see one.
It was unforgettable.”

Du Ci nodded, looking very pleased, “Your dog eyes are not bad.” 

Ma San immediately knelt and saluted Du Ci.
He then invited him into the patrol camp for a cup of tea, saying he could just let them know if he needed anything.


Du Ci stepped through the gate in a poised manner and was led into the main hall by the people around.
The hideout had quite an organized layout.
There were four halls in total, divided into front and back, left and right.
The main hall was located in the front and was often used to hold meetings.
The inside was decorated with many eye-catching objects, giving it a sense of grandeur.

This isn’t a sight one would see in a typical mountain bandit’s hideout.

Du Ci secretly observed everything while keeping a smile on his face, looking very cute and innocent.


Ma San invited the Big boss and the Second boss over.
When these two saw Du Ci, they knelt and saluted him, then requested to see the flute.
Du Ci showily swished out the flute without questions.

The Big boss said his surname was Yang.
The Second boss was his cousin, also surnamed Yang.
Du Ci could call them Big Yang and Second Yang.

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Big Yang had a bulky stature and overgrown muscles.
Compared to vice general Xu and Zhou, he might be even more mountain-like and gigantic.
The little chair over there looked like it would collapse immediately if he put his butts on it.


Du Ci was brought over to the main seat.
It had warm tiger skin lining under his bottoms, with tiger and fox skin decorating its back.
The seat was spacious enough for three Du Ci to sit on. 

Du Ci swung his legs, looking left and right curiously.
Then he heard Big Yang asked, “Little prince, did you bring this flute from Shu Shi?”

Du Ci replied: “Naturally.”

Big Yang: “This servant heard this flute was carved out from a jade stone along with two others.
In this world, only three flutes had this kind of marble veins.
When they’re played, the sound is melodious, like a phoenix singing.
Is that really true?”

Du Ci smiled.
His eyes curved into two arches, “I don’t know.
I don’t know how to play it.” 

Big Yang: “…”

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Second Yang coughed awkwardly, “Have the little prince seen the other two?”

Du Ci: “Of course I have.”

Second Yang immediately sat up straight and attentively listened to the young prince, “One of them is at my Eldest brother’s place.
The other is with my Third brother.
The three flutes were given as rewards by my father to his most favored sons.
That year, other brothers were displeased because of this.” 

The little prince touched the flute and sighed: “Such is the woe of being a beauty.”

Mountain bandits: “????”


Big Yang and Second Yang exchanged a few more pleasantries with Du Ci but couldn’t get any more useful information out of him.
In the end, they could only invite the little prince to the inner hall to continue talking.

The little prince immediately got alarmed, “What inner hall? That’s no good.
I am an engaged man.
I have to keep my body chaste!” 

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The bandits: “…”

Big Yang asked, a little embarrassed: “The little prince is engaged?”

Second Yang remembered something and slapped his forehead, “That’s right.
Just now, Ma San said the little prince is looking for his husband.
Your highness, please describe that person’s features and appearance.
This lowly servant will send someone to look for him.”

Du Ci smiled: “Emperor of Dasheng sent words, ordering Qi Nanke, the Vanguard General, to marry me.” 

Since this information was still a secret at this time, Big Yang and others were naturally unaware of it.
They were stunned silly, then they heard little prince continued, ” My man is on his way back, but I couldn’t just sit still and wait for him.
That’s why now I’m lost.”

Big Yang and Second Yang glanced at each other.
Second Yang leaned closer to Du Ci, whispering like a thief, “Your Highness.
This servant has something I wants to discuss with you.
It might also be a good thing for your highness too.”

Du Ci raised his eyebrows: “Oh?”

Second Yang continued, “Please come in the inner hall.
We can talk about it!” 

 Qi Nanke quickly investigated the entire hideout and discovered many suspicious clues and traces.
After going down the mountain, he planned to write a letter and send it to Royal City.
He felt an impatient urge to deploy troops.
He needed to take down this place first, before those officials in the Royal City alerted the enemy while trying to cover each other’s butts.

Qi Nanke immediately left the hideout, but when he returned to the same place, the little prince wasn’t there.
He thought the little prince might have gone down the mountain alone, so he went back and forth along the mountain road, going around in circles for awhile.
In the end, his eyes turned towards the hideout—— when all possibilities have been eliminated, whatever remains, however impossible, is the most probable.

He didn’t hear any commotion while in there, so it seemed Du Ci wasn’t arrested, but was invited to come inside.
However, just how did he manage to do it? Qi Nanke couldn’t figure it out, just like how he still couldn’t figure out how the little prince slipped out of the royal city.

Once again, Qi Nanke snuck into the hideout.
This time, he saw the bandits gathered around and discussing how good-looking the little prince was, as pretty as a girl, maybe even prettier than a girl! 

Qi Nanke’s murderous intent rose.
He wanted to pinch a certain someone these dirty mouths were talking about to death.
However, he had to find the person first.

When he finally reached the inner hall, Qi Nanke caught Du Ci’s voice.
He lay down silently on the roof like a cat, removed a few tiles, and looked inside.

One of the two strangers in the room said, “Like that, Qi Nanke will be yours sooner or later, little prince!”

Qi Nanke raised an eyebrow – what’s this about? 

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In the room, the little prince, unaware he was being eavesdropped on, was sitting in the rosewood chair and crossing his long legs.
He spoke in awkward Dasheng language.

“So what you’re saying is: you are helping Dasheng’s Crown Prince to ascend the throne.
When he does, Dasheng will sign a new treaty with Shu Shi.
He will give all the lands in Southwest to Shu Shi and help my Third brother become mornach.
At that time, the two countries will be in a mutual benefits relationship, so Qi Nanke will be more willing to marry me and come live with me in Shu Shi, right?”


Second Yang answered, “That’s right, your highness! Otherwise, with how stubborn that donkey Qi Nanke is, how could he be willing to marry a man as his main wife?”

Big Yang said: “I don’t dare to hide this from your highness.
The third prince has wanted to contact you in the Royal City for a long time.
It’s just that you were always surrounded by Dasheng’s people, so it was tough to send words.
Little Prince, when it comes to affection, the third prince loves you the most.
Now, Shu Shi is having internal strife.
The old emperor is muddle-headed and harming the princes and his family.
Everyone is not having an easy life.
Are you not worry about your brothers, sisters, little prince? Don’t you care about your mother?” 

Qi Nanke narrowed his eyes and stared at Du Ci with rapt attention.

Du Ci leaned back on the rosewood chair, rubbing his fingers along the flute.
Then, after a moment, he opened his mouth, “Of course, this prince misses my mother and brothers very much.
But imperial father had already abandoned this prince, otherwise, there wouldn’t have been no contact for so many years.
Imperial father is old and wants to appoint an heir, but he seems to have forgotten that this prince is still a hostage in Dasheng.
So, how can this prince not be heartbroken?”

Du Ci held the flute up, “Once, he had given these unique flutes to his most favorite princes, incurring envy in others.
But now…”

Du Ci shook his head, “Where’s my Eldest brother now?” 

“The eldest prince has been imprisoned.” Big Yang answered.

Du Ci propped his chin up and looked at the two, “You two are Dasheng people.
Why would you want to help my third brother?”

Big Yang and Second Yang looked at each other, then laughed out loud, “How can this count as helping the third prince? We’re only helping Dasheng’s Crown Prince.
It’s just that, by helping the Crown Prince, it also helps your country’s Third Prince in turn.”

Du Ci understood in his heart. 

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Du Ci touched the flute with a slight smile on his lips, “This prince is also bored of staying in Dasheng.
I certainly hope the third brother can help me go back.
But, of course, I have to bring my man back too.”

Big Yang immediately replied, “That is natural!”

Second Yang also added, “Your Highness is wise.
Now the Crown Prince and the Third Prince are willing to cooperate with you, in the future, your merits will be rewarded.
Think about it, if it was someone else succeeding the throne, your role in Dasheng would no longer have any meaning, and you won’t be able to return to Shu Shi in the future.” 

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Du Ci nodded, acting like he felt what they said was very reasonable, “However, words alone are not reliable.
You have to show me some proof.”

Big Yang was hesitating, but Second Yang slapped the table and said decisively, “Your Highness is a straightforward person, and we have nothing to hide.
Since we have already laid everything out, it would be meaningless if we can’t trust each other.”

Finished speaking, Second Yang pulled out a wooden box and unlocked it.

“Here is the Crown Prince’s handwritten letter and his Qilin talisman.” 

Du Ci’s eyebrows rose.
But before he could say anything, there was a sudden movement on the roof.
A black shadow fell down from above.

Big Yang and Second Yang wanted shout to alert people, but the shadow was extremely fast and hit their acupoints, making the two lose their voices.


Du Ci also nearly jump out of his skin, but once he saw who it was, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“You were actually in cahoot with them and wanted to plot against my Dasheng!” Qi Nanke’s expression was ugly.
Under the lights, he looked as terrifying as an Asura. 

Du Ci was stunned for a moment, “No, I…”

Qi Nanke took the wooden box in one hand, pulled out the short sword from Second Yang’s waist with the other, and placed it on his neck, “If you dare to scream, I will separate your head from your body!”

Second Yang’s face turned pale with fright.

Qi Nanke unsealed Second Yang’s acupoint so he could speak, but before he could ask questions, Second Yang turned towards Du Ci with a “you deceived me” look on his face, “Ninth Prince! You, you actually joined hands with Qi Nanke?!” 

Du Ci: “???”

Second Yang: “General Qi, you have better think clearly.
We are the Crown Prince’s people.
When the Crown Prince succeeds the throne and knows what you have done, what will become of Duke Qi’s residence? Can it have a good ending?!”

Du Ci’s eyes slowly widened, his agape mouth pointed at Second Yang, then at Qi Nanke, then at Second Yang, then at Qi Nanke.
It took a long time for him to finally find his voice: “Qi Nanke? Who are you referring to?”

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