Ch5 – Ridiculous

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Among the mountain bandits, some died, others ran away.
Their leader was still out cold after getting knocked off the horse; he was still foaming in the mouth and didn’t seem like he would get up anytime soon.
Most of the station got burned, so the guests had no choice but to gather in groups of twos and threes behind the stable and keep each other warm as they spent the long night there.

“Esteemed guest, esteemed guest!” the shopkeeper brought some people in front of Qi Nanke’s group, clasped his hands and bowed, “Thank you.
It was thanks to your horse’s intelligence and capability.
He kicked the stable door open and went to find our waiter.
His neighs woke everyone up; otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened.” 

Qi Nanke patted Huang Pyu, who was grazing leisurely on the side.
Vice-General Xu said proudly, “This is a top-grade bone-piercing horse, what has it never seen before? Today’s incident cannot even be compared to this hay in his eyes.”

After hearing that, everyone started showering praises.
Finally, some courageous kids gathered around to look at this majestic horse.



Vice General Zhou stroked his beard thoughtfully, “Shopkeeper, do you know where those people come from?”

“That group has been acting as the king of the mountain for more than a year.
At first, they only committed small robberies, eating without pay, extorting some money, and occasionally stealing chickens and sheep from the village at the mountain’s foot.
We have reported it to the higher-ups, but no one came to suppress the bandit, so we could only use money to solve the problem…” 

The shopkeeper revealed a helpless look, “The appetite of this group kept growing bigger and bigger.
Now they even started robbing travelers.
A lot of merchants have stopped passing by our place.
It was hard to keep this small station operational.
A few days ago, my son couldn’t take it anymore and scolded a group who ate without paying, so they crippled his leg, sigh…”


The shopkeeper pointed at the little waiter who wet his pants out of fear, “That’s my nephew.
He came to help out, but he’s a coward; it’s too pitiful for him to go through this…”

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Vice General Zhou frowned.
He looked left and right, then finally spoke, “This place is close to Royal City.
A courier station is where the government messengers with important messages stop to rest.
Usually, even public entry is not allowed.
Besides that courtyard opened for common use and a few high-grade rooms, other areas are inaccessible without a token.
And those bandits still dare to come?”

The shopkeeper’s face dropped, “It wasn’t supposed to be so.
But this is the reality.
They intruded on the place, ate the government’s rice, and robbed people of their money.
This small servant was also helpless.”


The shopkeeper could be considered as someone with keen eyes.
He realized Qi Nanke and his group were not ordinary people and asked with some expectations, “Are you lords from the court? Can you resolve this problem? Lord, my son has just formed a grudge with them and this has already happened.
A few days later, they might come back again to set fire and loot the place.
They may even kill someone next time! How can we live every day just anxiously waiting to be robbed?!”

Qi Nanke gestured for him to calm down, but before he could open his mouth, a clear voice came from the person next to him: “How ridiculous!”

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.

The few people turned their heads.
At this time, little prince Du Ci had changed into a wide-sleeved, dark green robe, paired with a jasper belt and white fox fur cloak; his long hair tied casually behind his back with a dark green headband.
The jade-white face had a pink luster.
The person’s countenance was handsome and heroic.
He slightly raised his chin and asked arrogantly, “Who is the local magistrate here?”


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Vb tf gfrqfmaoeiis rjlv, “Ktf ibmji wjulragjaf lr regcjwfv Bbcu, Obgv Bbcu Wljcilcu.” 

“Bbcu?” Ge Jl’r ijcuejuf wegvfglcu kjr lc oeii rklcu jr tf rqbxf, “Gbfr tf tjnf jcs gfijalbc klat Xgjcv Ugfmfqabg Bbcu lc Tbcuuf?”

“Yes,” the shopkeeper nodded, inwardly thinking, this person was so knowledgeable, he must be a lord from the Royal City!

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He became even more respectful, “Among the descendants from the Grand Preceptor’s side branches, this local magistrate is said to be the most promising one.”

“Promising?” The corners of Du Ci’s rosy lips curled up, showing a blatant sneer, “Colluding with mountain bandits to tyrannize people, is that what you called promising?” 

The shopkeeper was already bowing in respect.
After hearing Du Ci say that, he subconsciously wanted to prostrate and beg for forgiveness; at the same time, a strange feeling arose in his heart: this youth looks so young and yet already has such a majestic aura; he’s probably not a normal rich merchant’s son.
But if his status is so noble, why would he run here to stay? He even almost lost his life.

The young man smiled coldly as though no one was worth putting in his eyes.
Obviously, he was acting pompous; however, it didn’t make others feel irritated.
If that blatant sneer had appeared on someone else’s face, it would look mean and vicious.
But putting it on his face, it made people want to share the same disdained sentiment and approve of whatever he said.

Qi Nanke glanced at Vice General Xu in a tacit communication.
In fact, he could have spoken up himself, but recalling what Du Ci said, “You’re a mute,” he suddenly didn’t want to speak anymore.
He also didn’t know why he felt like that.

Vice General Xu knew exactly what the general wanted to ask, “This little brother, so what if you know the surname of magistrate Kong? We are all ordinary people.
These locals appealed to the government but to no avail.
So what can we do?” 

Douding immediately puffed up his chest, “You can’t do it! It doesn’t mean our young master can’t do it either!”

Vice General Xu laughed out loud, “And just what makes you so confident?”


“Why should I tell you?” Douding snorted, with hands still carrying his prince’s baggage, he looked at the shopkeeper haughtily, “Just wait and see, there is nothing our young master can’t handle!”

Qi Nanke raised his eyebrows, then turned his dark eyes towards Du Ci.
The way Du Ci played with the jade pendant on his waist, as if he was trying to show modesty while putting on air, was pretty amusing. 

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He didn’t expect the Ninth Prince Du, who had been pampered since he was young and rumored to only know how to play, would bother himself with this kind of thing.

Well, he also didn’t expect the person to display this kind of confident attitude without considering how complicated and dangerous the situation was.

Recalling how he freely gave out his address to strangers, rewarded people without looking at the pouch, rushed into the fire for a bag even though his eyebrows already got burned, then screamed like a pig when they jumped out from the window.
All of that, added to the smugness he currently had while poking into other’s businesses…Qi Nanke lowered his head, and the corners of his mouth rose a little.
His fingers habitually rubbed the tip of his nose, secretly thinking, this person is quite interesting.

“If you want to appeal, you must provide proof,” Du Ci rolled his eyes and said, “Take this knockout-ed bandit as proof.
Then, tomorrow morning, send a few people to find magistrate Kong with me! I’ll see what more they have to say!” 

The shopkeeper believed he had met a bigshot who could uphold justice, happily complied, and wanted to prostrate on the ground, but Douding pulled him back.

“It’s only a small matter.
Go find a few unburned quilts so my young master can rest for the night.”

“Yes! Yes!”

Du Ci snorted with his nose, then kicked the unconscious thief on the ground in the head before walking away. 

Qi Nanke waited until the others were far away to chuckle softly.

Vice General Xu rarely saw his family general like this and couldn’t hold back his surprise, “Young master, that person…”

“He is Du Ci,” Qi Nanke said, “Noble clothing, extraordinary bearing, can speak Shu Shi’s language, and his pouch and the jade pendant…”

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Qi Nanke took out the money pouch and held it in his palm, “The embroidery on this pouch is Shu Shi’s style.
The jade pendant he just played with is also an item from the palace.” 

Vice General Zhou inhaled sharply, “This little prince is really…”

The most basic thing to do when going out is to not expose your identity.
But this little prince is very good.
He only lacked a nametag hanging on his chest!

Qi Nanke said, “Since he didn’t say it was the Prince mansion, but Du mansion, it could be considered as he leaving himself a retreat route.”

However, just the name Du had completely revealed his identity to the three of them. 

Vice General Xu immediately remembered something, “Although the little prince is very noble and is favored by the emperor, he’s still only a hostage after all.
A hostage cannot leave Royal City without permission.
If this reached His Majesty’s ears…”

“He will be charged with treason.” Qi Nanke’s thumb and index slowly rubbed against each other.
Many years of holding swords made his fingertips full of calluses.
Those light gray eyes flashed with doubts, “But how did he slip out?”


The two vice generals were also puzzled.

“Tomorrow, if he goes to magistrate Kong and reveals his identity, he will either hand over a weakness for others to handle, or be plotted against and falsely accused of impersonating a prince.
Finally, he will get arrested and sent to prison.” Qi Nanke said, “Stupid.” 

Vice General Zhou stroked his beard and laughed: “Although rash, he is a rarely seen compassionate person.
I admire this little prince quite a bit.”

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