Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Li Taiyi ended his cultivation, wiped out the sweat from his forehead, and called out, "Enter!"
The door opened with a creak, and an elderly eunuch came inside with a jade tray. It was none other than Eunuch Fu.
Eunuch Fu had been sent by his mother, Virtuous Empress Dou, and he was very loyal. When Prince Xuan was seriously ill, Virtuous Empress Dou had been concerned and sent him over to care for her son.
"Little Xuan, the medicine that you should have taken at the Shen Period (3-5pm) was taken away on His Majesty's order. This is a medicine that Virtuous Empress Dou requested that the imperial physician remake. It is late at night and the dew is heavy, so please drink it while it is hot."
Eunuch Fu placed the tray down on the nearby sandalwood table and then brought up a bowl of warm medicinal liquid to Li Taiyi.
"Sir Eunuch, thank you for your efforts," Li Taiyi sincerely said to Eunuch Fu as he took the medicine.
Eunuch Fu couldn't help but freeze for a moment in surprise. Though he had served Prince Xuan for some time, he had never heard him being so polite. And even thanking him?
For some reason, he had this feeling…
Prince Xuan had changed!
In the past, whenever Prince Xuan grew impatient, he would start beating up the eunuchs to vent his anger, or even have them fight against each other for his own amusement.
Although he was one of Virtuous Empress Dou's old subordinates, he had also found it hard to escape such treatment.
But at some point, seemingly after he had been punished by His Majesty, Prince Xuan had grown much more reserved, and he had even begun to appreciate others.
This left Eunuch Fu overcome with surprise. It wasn't just him. All the maids, eunuchs, and guards of Jade Dragon Palace had sensed the change in Prince Xuan.
However, there was no doubt that this was a welcome change.
"Third Prince… has truly grown up. Empress, your efforts were not in vain!"
Eunuch Fu was almost on the verge of tears as he felt gratified in Virtuous Empress Dou's place.
The heavens had taken pity on a mother's heart. Perhaps Little Xuan had finally understood the Empress's pains and finally changed.
On the other end, Li Taiyi frowned as he finished his medicine and swiftly took the candied plum on the jade tray to alleviate the bitterness.
Once he put the bowl back on the tray, he saw that Eunuch Fu was still standing there in a daze, so he couldn't help but ask, "Eunuch Fu, is there something else?"
Eunuch Fu blinked as he came to his senses. He immediately remembered something, and after some hesitation, he began to speak.
"Under Little Xuan's orders, the young master of the Lu Clan set about establishing a deer park. The construction is done now, so he has sent someone to ask Little Xuan when you will visit."
"A deer park?"
Li Taiyi frowned, and after a few moments of thought, he finally remembered.
In the past, Prince Xuan had truly been irredeemably sex-obsessed. While this deer park sounded ordinary, in truth, he had ordered someone to seize the beautiful women of the world so that he could enjoy them.
The young master of the Lu Clan was none other than the person he had sent to supervise this matter. But the building of the deer park took so much time that he had already forgotten about it.
"Understood." Li Taiyi waved his hand and unhappily said, "Tell Lu Yan to dismantle the deer park and send all the women back! In addition, if he comes to visit in the future, refuse him at the door!"
Hearing this, Eunuch Fu was taken aback, and then he rejoiced.
"Yes, this old slave will go!"
The deer park was a time bomb that had always left him uneasy, so he had secretly hindered the matter. To his surprise, Little Xuan had decided to dismantle it. This was truly a wonderful surprise.
It seems that Little Xuan really has changed!"
Eunuch Fu was crying, so he hastily lowered his head and wiped the tears away.
"Eunuch Fu, I would like to read for a while. Go about your business."
With his medicine taken, Li Taiyi quickly sat himself behind his desk and took up a copy of the 'Spring and Autumn Annals'.
"Yes, yes, this old slave will go," Eunuch Fu hurriedly replied. Seeing his Little Xuan already beginning to read by the light of the lantern, Eunuch Fu felt even more gratified.
He was Virtuous Empress Dou's old subordinate and had watched Little Xuan grow up. Nothing could make him more happy than seeing Little Xuan reform and pull himself together.
Just as he was crossing over the door, Eunuch Fu remembered something and walked back.
"Right, does Little Xuan remember what this old slave mentioned to you last time? In a few days, this old slave will return to Virtuous Empress Dou's side, so I have found a minor eunuch to serve as your personal attendant. When would Your Highness like to see him?"
"Oh?" Li Taiyi seemed to remember and indifferently said, "Let's do it now."
A few moments later, Eunuch Fu led a minor eunuch of around sixteen years old into Jade Dragon Palace.
This was someone that Eunuch Fu had selected, so Li Taiyi felt like he could rest easy. However, when he saw this minor eunuch, the eunuch seemed to be rather reserved, or afraid. His head was bowed as he hid behind Eunuch Fu, not daring to look at Li Taiyi.
He had obviously heard of Prince Xuan's reputation.
Li Taiyi rapped on his desk and sternly said to the minor eunuch, "You seem to be very afraid, yes?"
The eunuch instantly grew even more nervous.
Eunuch Fu saw this and was about to say some good words about the minor eunuch, but Li Taiyi stopped him with his eyes.
Although Li Taiyi seemed stern, he was really just testing this minor eunuch that Eunuch Fu had selected, trying to see if he was really fit to be at his side.
The minor eunuch did not keep Li Taiyi waiting for too long, quickly bowing and saying, "This slave… this slave saw the mighty flames rising from Third Highness's body, as if Your Highness was protected by Dragon Qi, and thus is protected by His Majesty. This is why this slave does not dare to look directly at Your Highness."
Li Taiyi chuckled and nodded his head.
"Very quick-witted. You may serve at my side!"
"Thank you, Your Highness!"
"What is your name?"
"This slave is called Gao Lishi."
The next day, news somehow found its way from the court to the people about Prince Xuan's account books, sending ripples through the people.
The reputation of Third Prince Xuan was known both in the Imperial Court and amongst the people.
No one found it strange that the Third Prince had embezzled disaster relief funds, as it was completely in line with his personality. But no one had expected the Third Prince to not be corrupt and to have actually exposed a host of court officials who were engaged in corruption.
Prince Xuan was a sex-obsessed womanizer with a brutal personality who enjoyed beating his servants and bullying the common folk, and even held gambling events in the palace. His infamy had spread far and wide.
That wise and confident, bold and strategic, forceful and proactive figure who had appeared in court… it seemed like it was someone else entirely.
"Was it really the Third Prince? Could it be a mistake?"
"It can't be! It has to be fake!"
"There must be something else going on here. The Third Prince can't be this formidable!"
A lively conversation was going on in the capital.
The mountains and rivers were easier to change than the nature of men. The Third Prince could not be this capable. The contrast was just too great.
None of them would believe it if it were claimed that nothing fishy was going on.
Time passed, but the critical voices of the people only increased in number and ferocity. Various versions of the court debate and the corruption matter spread wildly amongst the populace, and it was only brought to an end with the intervention of Imperial Censor Duan Cao.
Imperial Censor Duan Cao was a tough figure who did not fear power and authority, and would uphold the cause of righteousness even in front of the Emperor himself. He was blunt and forthright, and he was revered amongst the common folk.
Under Duan Cao's supervision, the truth of the matter quickly came to light. All the officials implicated in the matter were listed down on posters that were hung up all over the capital.
When they saw the cinnabar dragon seal on the announcement, the people finally believed that what had transpired at the court was true.
That infamous and incompetent Third Prince Xuan really had changed!
Though it was unbelievable, it was the truth.
This matter made many storytellers across the capital begin to tell various stories about Third Prince Xuan.
Some said that he had lost his memory, others that his mother falling ill had awakened his filial spirit, and others said that Prince Xuan had always been this shrewd and had been playing the part of a pig to eat a tiger this whole time.
Putting aside the passionate conversations of the people, Li Taiyi, still under house arrest, had no idea what was going on outside, so he did not care.
Though he was under house arrest, Li Taiyi enjoyed his leisure and spent it quietly cultivating in Jade Dragon Palace. Like this, half a month of house arrest went by.
In Jade Dragon Palace, Li Taiyi sat cross-legged on his bed of sandalwood. He let out a turbid breath as he ended his cultivation session.
Half a month was neither too long nor too short, but Li Taiyi had already reached the peak of the True Martial realm.
For the majority of people, this was a demonic speed.
But Li Taiyi was not satisfied with his progress.
The experiences from his past life had left Li Taiyi very familiar with cultivation, so from his perspective, he should have already reached the Profound Martial realm.
But for some reason, whenever he was about to break through, there would be some strange reaction from his dantian, as if some mysterious hole was sucking away all the spiritual energy he had gathered, so much so that he would fall by an entire tier.
A normal person would have already given up upon encountering such circumstances, but Li Taiyi had not. Though he had already been pushed back three times, he continued to persistently cultivate.
This wasn't because of Li Taiyi's persevering personality, but rather because while this spiritual energy was being intercepted, he did not feel as if it was leaking out. Moreover, each time it was absorbed, there would be a flash of light from his dantian.
At the third time, Li Taiyi had discovered that the light was even brighter.
Although he didn't know what it was, Li Taiyi knew that this was not some bottomless hole!
Two more times should be enough to get it to full! Li Taiyi mentally remarked as he felt out the situation in his body.
He had a vague sense that when this light fully burst out, he would break through!
Moreover… Li Taiyi found this light rather familiar, though he didn't understand how.
As Li Taiyi pondered, there was a knocking at the door of Jade Dragon Palace.