Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The most shocked of all was Huoyuan.
His expression was constantly shifting as he stared at Li Taiyi, who was standing tall like a pine tree.
What was going on here?
When did Prince Xuan become so formidable?
With such incredible speed, all three arrows had hit the target. Not even someone who had been training in archery for seven years would be able to do it, and Prince Xuan was only seventeen years old. How?!
However, though Huoyuan was shocked, he could have never imagined that this Prince Xuan was no longer the original.
At this moment, a sharp gaze came from the distance. Huoyuan sensed something, looked in the direction of that noble figure, and immediately understood.
As Li Taiyi put away his bow, Huoyuan walked out of the crowd, smiling and clapping.
"Prince Xuan, excellent bowmanship!
"But Prince Xuan is still recovering from your illness. Let me help you get some rest."
Huoyuan squeezed out a smile as he came up to support Li Taiyi.
As Huoyuan approached, Li Taiyi frowned and coldly said, "There's no need." He pushed off Huoyuan's arm.
But surprisingly, as Li Taiyi was shaking off Huoyuan's arm, a white silk handkerchief flew out in a beautiful arc and slowly landed on the ground.
Li Taiyi frowned, not understanding why the handkerchief in his sleeve had fallen out, but he immediately bent down to pick it up.
However, another pair of hands moved even more quickly.
"Prince Xuan, you, you…"
Huoyuan appeared flabbergasted, his eyes brimming with 'disbelief' as he looked at the white handkerchief. Seemingly confused, he cast his gaze at Li Taiyi and said in immense shock, "Even if you are a Prince, you cannot use the five-clawed golden dragon!"
A commotion broke out in the crowd at Huoyuan's words.
"What? Prince Xuan had the five-clawed golden dragon woven into his handkerchief?!"
"In the Central Plains, only His Majesty can use the five-clawed golden dragon! This is major disrespect! How could Brother Xuan be so bold!?"
"It's no wonder Prince Xuan has never respected His Majesty. He was already harboring disloyal notions."
"This is no minor matter. It must be reported to His Majesty at once!"
The crowd flew into an uproar, their expressions contorted with rage as they prepared to report Li Taiyi.
Huoyuan watched all of this transpire and listened to the sharp words, his smile growing wider and wider.
He had remained at Prince Xuan's side and continued to serve him diligently precisely for this day.
The incident with the King of Shan's son was not enough to finish Prince Xuan, but with this five-clawed golden dragon handkerchief, Prince Xuan would be damned to eternal condemnation.
As expected, this Prince Xuan was still the same fool as always, easily walking into the trap.
He had thought that he would need to go to some effort to get out Prince Xuan's handkerchief, but to his surprise, it had fallen out all on its own while he was helping Prince Xuan up.
As Huoyuan thought of this, the smile on his face grew wider.
But when he turned to Li Taiyi, hoping to see him in discomfort, he was flabbergasted.
Li Taiyi had a calm face and didn't seem panicked at all. When Huoyuan looked over, he could even see a little derision in his eyes.
Huoyuan's heart thumped with ill foreboding.
"Huoyuan, you dare to slander a Prince, to slander the imperial household!"
Li Taiyi raised his chin and coldly glared at Huoyuan.
Flabbergasted, everyone instantly ceased their chatter. At a time like this, Prince Xuan was choosing to make trouble for Huoyuan?
Moreover, the evidence was right there. How was Huoyuan slandering him?
Huoyuan immediately realized what was going on, viciously countering, "Prince Xuan, you are the one slandering here. This handkerchief came from your body, and there is no doubt that it has the five-clawed golden dragon. What do you have to say for yourself!?"
Li Taiyi smirked as he nonchalantly said, "Look again! See if it really is that five-clawed golden dragon you speak of!"
Whoosh! Everyone looked at Huoyuan, looked at the white handkerchief in his hand.
Huoyuan didn't believe Li Taiyi's words and immediately opened up the handkerchief, but a moment later, he turned ghastly pale.
On the handkerchief, what came after the awe-inspiring dragon head was the large body of a tortoise.
A five-clawed dragon? This was clearly a Xuanwu, also known as the Bixi.
The dragon had nine sons, and the Bixi was one of them.
Although no one had ever heard of a five-clawed tortoise, a Bixi was a Bixi. Even if it had six claws or seven claws, it was still no true dragon.
Prince Xuan was a Prince, and though having a Bixi woven into his handkerchief was rather strange, he was not going above his status, let alone plotting rebellion.
"How could this be?!"
Huoyuan felt like his eyes were going to burst out of their sockets. He seemed to suffer a mighty blow, his body staggering back.
This was totally different from what he had imagined!
"Huoyuan, did you think I didn't know about your little tricks?" Li Taiyi said, approaching Huoyuan with an intimidating energy radiating from his body.
At this moment, Li Taiyi did not seem one bit like that 'Brother Xuan'.
"Alas, when evil rises one foot, the righteous will grow ten. Did you really think you could hide it from me?"
Li Taiyi coldly sneered.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
As Li Taiyi drew closer and closer, Huoyuan frantically backed away, intimidated by that imposing aura.
"Your Highness, spare me! Spare me! I was forced to do this! This matter truly has nothing to do with me!"
Huoyuan paled and immediately threw himself to the ground and prostrated. His eyes were brimming with fear while sweat drenched his back.
This matter was developing completely differently from what he had envisioned.
"Too late!" Li Taiyi said, his face cold. He nocked an arrow to his bow and aimed it at Huoyuan's forehead.
The various absurd things he had done over the last few years were also inextricably associated with Huoyuan, and he was now thinking of various ways to frame him. If he had not been vigilant and noticed something fishy, he really might have fallen for Huoyuan's trap.
"Huoyuan, accept your fate!" Li Taiyi coldly said, and then a bowstring creaked as it was pulled back.
Huoyuan panicked and immediately fell back, trying to avoid Li Taiyi's arrow. But at this distance, how could he possibly escape?
This dangerous moment instantly stimulated Huoyuan into action.
He stared at Li Taiyi and harshly said, "Third Master Li, you dare!
"You still think you're that Prince favored by His Majesty, still like the sun at its zenith?
"Over the last few years, you've run amok. Last year, in Vermillion Bird Street, you killed the son of the King of Shan over a Hu concubine, leaving His Majesty utterly disappointed. His Divine Majesty is already thinking about striking you off the rolls.
"And you dare to strike at me?
"If you kill a subject of the court without a decree, what do you think will happen to you with your current status!?"
Huoyuan grew increasingly confident, and by the end, he was even smiling.
Hah! He was just a trash prince hated by the Emperor. How could he compare to the son of the King of Xiang?!
"Are you done?" Li Taiyi coldly said.
Before Huoyuan could react, the bowstring twanged, and an arrow flew through the air and penetrated through the center of his forehead, the immense force causing his body to slide backward for some distance.
How could he dare?!
Huoyuan's eyes were wide in disbelief. Even at his final moments, he did not dare believe that Li Taiyi would truly dare to kill him.
The spectating crowd was aghast at the sight of Huoyuan's corpse.
Li Taiyi saw the faces of panic around him and scoffed. Casting aside the bow and arrows, he was about to leave, but at this moment, he sensed something and turned to the nearby rest station.
This rest station was much more luxurious than Li Taiyi's, and there were many platters of fruit and saucers of wine. There was even a heated platform in the center of the station.
A figure in a dark golden fur coat sat next to the heated platform, looking at Li Taiyi with a sharp gaze.
Li Taiyi looked at the figure in the dark golden fur coat and slightly raised an eyebrow. This person was Li Taiyi's 'good brother', Fourth Prince Li Longfan.
Seemingly sensing Li Taiyi's sharp gaze, the Fourth Prince suddenly smiled and nodded at him.
Li Taiyi internally gave a cold laugh, but he maintained his smile and nodded back before turning to leave.
In the rest station, as Fourth Prince Li Longfan watched Li Taiyi leave, an amused expression appeared on his face, and he muttered to himself, "I didn't think that after his talent was crippled, he would become even more intense. But executing a subject of the court without a decree is a heavy crime, enough to get him the death penalty!
"Haha, hurry and report this to Second Brother!"