Ch2 – Fate ah Fate
In a small town more than a month’s travel away from the Royal City, three sturdy horses stopped at a courier station at night.
One of them, wearing a dirty cloak, was tall and robust.
When he walked through the door, his body almost filled the entire doorframe, scaring the little waiter so much his legs went soft.
“Gentle…gentlemen…” the waiter spoke as he retreated a few steps and trembled, afraid these people were bandits “Today, today we’re full…”
“Shut up!” The shopkeeper quickly walked out from behind the counter, his eyes sharply swept through the token on the other person’s waist.
After confirming these people were not bandits or robbers, he spoke respectfully, “Three esteemed guests, the normal rooms are full, but we still have a few high-grade ones.”
The tall man’s face was hidden under the hood, only a pair of sharp and sinister eyes were exposed.
Under the dimmed light, those gray pupils looked like they were dyed in ashes, making them look even more terrifying.
The man’s voice was low, seemingly contained the rolling sandstorm, “Three high-grade rooms.”
“Please come inside, esteemed guests!” The shopkeeper didn’t dare to continue looking.
He bowed his head and humbly led the guests to their room.
Two people following behind the tall man spoke in gruff tones, “Take good care of the horses outside, they need fresh feeds.”
“Yes, yes!” The waiter rushed out, trembling all over.
These three were Qi Nanke’s group who came back from the frontier to report.
Of course, they were not the only ones coming back.
Following behind were the main forces and carriages carrying local specialties, beauties, gold and silver, and Letter of Submission from the enemy.
Halfway through the journey, a secret messenger sent the emperor’s words, telling Qi Nake to come back and get married, not only that, but his partner was also a man.
This stone stirred up a thousand waves, Qi’s family confidants who heard the news were extremely angry, they wanted to march to the palace to seek justice! On that same day, Qi Nanke wrote a letter and gave it to a subordinate to deliver to his father — Duke Qi, Qi Lu, overnight.
Without waiting for his father reply, Qi Nanke took two trusty vice generals with him and rushed back to Royal City first.
He intended to secretly seek out that Ninth Prince of Shu Shi to get to the bottom of this before proceeding with his plans.
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.
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When they finally approached the Royal City, the three had become a mess and already run three horses to death.
In fact, this was much faster than what they originally planned.
Even though they didn’t expect anyone in Royal City to know they had come back in secret, the three still covered up their heads to avoid attention.
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“How’s the investigation on Du Ci going?”
“I received a letter today.
Ninth Prince Du is no longer in the Royal City.”
“So he ran away?” Vice general Xu looked very happy, “It’s no wonder, he’s a prince, of course he wouldn’t want to marry a man! That’s great!”
Qi Nanke remained solemn, not saying a word.
The two vice generals looked at each other in confusion, “General…what’s wrong?”
“Du Ci has been held as a hostage in Dasheng for many years.
An easygoing and naïve person.
Even though the Emperor favored him, those qualities haven’t changed.
He hung out with the delinquent young masters in Dasheng and immersed himself in pleasure all day long.
His reputation is quite infamous in the Royal City.
Such a person, if he knew the Emperor has bestowed him a marriage to another man, how do you think he would feel?”
“Ah?” Vice General Xu scratched his head, speaking a little dumbly, “This, this subordinate doesn’t know, could the general be thinking the Ninth Prince didn’t run away?”
“Where could he run to?” Qi Nanke glanced at Vice General Xu, his index and thumb gently rubbed against each other, it was a habit when he was thinking about something.
“He cannot go back to Shu Shi.
No matter where he run, he would be caught and brought back.” Vice General Zhou stroked his beard, his eyes were as bright as a bronze bell, and his voice was similarly as loud, “There really is no use in running away.”
“Then…” Vice General Xu was stumped for a moment, he asked in bafflement, “Why wasn’t he in the Royal City? Could a person disappear into thin air?”
A sharp light flashed in Qi Nanke’s eyes, he whispered, “Maybe, he has the same idea as us.”
“What?!” Vice General Xu was taken by surprised, he slapped the table, “General means…he’s coming to find us too?”
Qi Nanke’s guess was correct.
But the reason was a little off.
Ninth Prince Du was very excited after receiving the emperor’s marriage bestowment, saying it was an indication of long-term peace between the two countries.
Once night fell, he quickly packed up and took his close aid, Douding, to sneak out of the Royal City.
The two traveled for more than a month before stopping at a courier station in a small town to rest.
Late at night, Douding came back after a trip to the restroom, hand gripping clothes while the body was shaking like a leaf, “Princ…Young Master, there are new guests staying at the station, but from what I see, they’re not good people.
How about we leave early in the morning?”
Du Ci rolled over on bed, his finger stroked a small and white jade flute he always carried with him, he opened his mouth lazily, “Tell me, where do you think Qi Nanke is now? What if we already missed him?”
“It’s not possible, young master!” Douding burrowed into the mattress on the floor and look up at his master on the bed, “Their group is going back to Royal City to report works, so they will use the route exclusively for official.
With so many people, we will definitely be able to recognize them.”
“Mm” Du Ci yawned and glanced at the night outside.
Behind the window, the sky was very dark.
Occasionally, he could hear the sounds of dogs barking and horses neighing.
He squeezed the flute tight, “You say, he…will he remember me?”
Douding frowned and didn’t know how to respond.
After thinking for half a day, he finally spoke, “Young master, you and little duke only met each other once before he went to guard the border.
After so many years…he may not remember you.”
“Bastard!” Du Ci grabbed the pillow next to him and threw it at Douding, half-real, half-fake cursing, “He will definitely remember me!”
“Yes, yes!” Douding quickly kowtowed, “Young master is so good-looking, little duke will surely remember you!”
Du Ci snorted, then sank back into the pillow.
The room fell into silence.
After some times passed, just as the two started drifting off, they heard the sound of horses neighing along with people shouting,
“The stable is on fire!”
Du Ci immediately jumped out of the bed.
He covered himself with only an outer robe and ran outside barefooted.
At the same time, the opposite room’s door was yanked open, a tall and burly man appeared and frowned.
Two sides glanced at each other, then quickly averted their eyes simultaneously.
Douding rushed out with the clothes in his hands, and put them on Du Ci, “Young master! Don’t catch a cold!”
Douding was the same as Du Ci, despite staying in Dasheng for so many years, his Dasheng’s language was still weak.
At this moment, because he was flustered, he unconsciously spoke in Shu Shi’s language.
Du Ci tugged on his clothes, his eyes reflecting the orange flames not far away.
He also spoke in Shu Shi, “What are you staring at? Quickly go ever there! Don’t let our horses get burned.”
The tall man had only taken two steps when he heard these foreign words and abruptly stopped.
He slowly turned around, his eyes fixed on the young man standing barefooted in the hallway.
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