The Regent’s Secret Chapter 39

Chapter 39

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Li Yi thought that Bai Xian would not come to Pan Palace again, but unexpectedly, he sat in the back row as usual and listened to his lecture after a few days. After class, Bai Xian approached him with his coursework and he couldn’t help asking, “How is your injury? Have any elders in your family reprimanded you?”

Zhao Heng was not punished by the school, and when Wei Che showed his imperial army badge, the supervisor in charge of rewards and punishments was taken aback. He quickly found an excuse to take Zhao Heng to another room and, after verifying his identity, breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn’t punished for failing to protect the emperor. 

As for being scolded by his elders at home… 

“Thank you for your concern, Professor. I have already accepted the punishment from my father. I was determined to come to study, and my mother couldn’t stop me, so here I am.” 

Li Yi thought that Zhao Heng was also stubborn. Given his background of coming to the school, coupled with his frailty and fighting incident, it was likely that his family knew that Bai Xian wouldn’t live long and had a hard time stopping him from coming.

With this thought in mind, and the face in his memory flashing before his eyes, Li Yi couldn’t help but feel sorry for Bai Xian.

Zhao Heng took advantage of this opportunity to ask Li Yi, “Professor, I heard that the equestrian class has reopened in Pan Palace. It just started and it is said to be very lively. All the students are required to attend. Will you be going?”

Li Yi had wanted to avoid this topic that reminded him of old times, but Guo Shen insisted, so he had to agree, “Jijiu has asked me to preside over the ceremony.”

Bai Xian’s original intention was to watch Li Yi preside over the ceremony and nodded in satisfaction, “Of course.”

In the afternoon, the students brought their horses to the martial arts field at the foot of Wuliang Mountain one after another.

Li Yi stood in the old place, feeling the wind blowing, and saw the autumn grasses already turning green. He looked around the mountains and saw a dark horse rushing towards him from afar. When it came closer, he saw a cluster of white hair in the center of the horse’s forehead, like lightning flashing.

Bai Xian sat upright on the horse, accompanied by his constant companion, a fair and weak young man and a dark and muscular exotic man. The stunning beauty of this scene made Li Yi want to pick up his pen right there.

Wei Che dismounted first, kneeling on one knee beside the tall black horse, supporting with both hands, waiting for Bai Xian to dismount on his knee.

Li Yi was so familiar with this kneeling posture, as if Zhao Shen was still here yesterday serving him in the same place to mount a horse.

One afternoon in Pan Palace, a few idle clouds floated in the blue sky, and it was no different from any other day. When Li Yi entered the side hall of Dacheng Palace where the class should have been held, he found that there was no one inside.

Professor Xia, who was teaching, had just stepped in and was also surprised to see the situation. “Your Highness, why are you the only one here? What’s going on?”

The assistant who was originally following the professor quickly stepped out, and soon returned in a hurry.

“Your Highness, Professor, something has happened. Several Shizi are causing a disturbance, and they are all in the martial arts field. The Chamberlain may not even know about this.”

Li Yi immediately asked, “Is Dian Nan Wang Shizi there?”

“Yes, Dian Nan Wang Shizi, as well as the Qin Wang Shizi, Jin Wang Shizi, and Xiangguo Shizi.”

Upon hearing this, Li Yi couldn’t sit still anymore and left the side hall towards the martial arts field, followed closely by Professor Xia and the others.

When they arrived at the martial arts field, they saw dust flying in the air from afar. Closer by, there were several young nobles and their attendants surrounded by a circle of people. In the distance, it was impossible to see any human or animal figures, only the neighing of horses mixed with shouts and curses.

As Li Yi approached, the crowd automatically opened up a path for him to pass through. He walked quickly to the front and saw that the distant mountains, forest gardens, and brightly-dressed youths had all become a backdrop, leaving only a white horse neighing proudly in the midst of the world.

For a moment, Li Yi thought he saw a true dragon or divine beast.

Zhao Shen, half-bent in front of the horse, faced several Shizis on the other side. Despite facing three opponents alone, he used one hand to restrain the horse from moving forward, while using the other to fend off the people in front of him, slowly retreating backwards.

Li Yi saw that two of the three people who were pressing on Zhao Shen had dirty clothes and messy hair, obviously having just suffered a loss and not daring to act rashly. They were pressuring Zhao Shen tightly, not willing to back down.

Qin Wang Shizi, Li Di, took the lead in cursing, “Kid, get out of the way! This animal injured someone before and almost killed this Shizi today! Why keep it alive? Kill it and be done with it!”

Li Yi frowned at his words. Before he could even approach, the white jade divine steed lifted its neck and let out a long, mournful neigh that echoed through the world. A waterfall-like silver mane cascaded down, and no other living being in the world could compare to its beauty.

The horse neighed until its voice was hoarse, then lowered its head to gently nuzzle Zhao Shen, as if it knew that this was its moment of doom.

Zhao Shen didn’t take his eyes off the three people approaching him, freeing up his left arm to reach out and soothe the horse. His touches were slow and steady, and his patience with animals far surpassed his interactions with people.

Li Yi heard him ask sternly, “What is necessary for you to let Bai Yucong go?”

“You little brat, you think you can win against us every time? It’s just because you’re relying on this beast. If you have the ability, try changing to another horse today. If we still lose, we’ll spare its life.”

“Are you all in agreement?” asked Zhao Yuan, but his question was directed only at the leader, Li Di, who had made the proposal.

Li Di exchanged a glance with the other two and they all laughed in unison. Qin Wang Shizi lifted his chin contemptuously and nodded. He thought to himself, “I’ve put so much effort into setting up this game, there’s no way I won’t beat you today.”

Seeing Li Di nod, Zhao Yuan immediately said, “It’s settled!” Then he turned to Li Yi without hesitation and said, “Your Highness, please be the witness.”

Pan Palace’s chamberlain, who had just arrived and learned what was going on, was a step too late to stop the Crown Grandson from nodding.

Seeing that Li Yi had agreed, Zhao Yuan clapped his hands and rode away on his white jade horse. The steed galloped out of the martial arts arena and slowly stopped on the green slope at the foot of the mountain, with great skill.

Meanwhile, Qin Wang Shizi’s attendants had already brought a chestnut mare from the stable in the school. The horse was nothing special, and it was already old and showing signs of aging.

Looking at the horses of Li Di and his companions, which were all excellent steeds, Li Yi frowned and instructed his eunuch, “Go and ask who is willing to lend me a horse.”

Li Yi did not attend the riding class at Pan Palace, and his dappled horse was not brought to the martial arts arena either.

When it was heard that the Crown Grandson wanted to borrow a horse, even if they knew it would offend Qin Wang Shizi and the others, there were still some who were willing to step forward. But after a moment, the eunuch led a dark bay horse over.

Li Yi had already prepared his words, “Since you’ve asked me to be a witness and you were originally dissatisfied with the horses being unequal, if Zhao Shizi’s horse is not as good as yours, it’s equally unsportsmanlike to win by default. Won’t you be criticized in the future?”

Although Li Di and the others were unhappy with the Crown Grandson’s words spoken and the fact that the brought horse was slightly inferior to their own horses, they had an advantage. Li Di and the others were used to riding their horses, unlike Zhao Yuan who had borrowed one temporarily, and this advantage was not just a little bit.

Zhao Yuan took the reins of Daili and caressed the horse, speaking to the horse in a low voice as if he was talking to a person. 

He respectfully thanked the Crown Prince without showing any joy in front of everyone, but when he turned around and looked at Li Yi, his eyes were completely different. It was as if a match had been struck in the darkness of his eyes, making Li Yi’s heart feel hot.

As the four horses lined up in a single file, Li Yi’s breathing suddenly became faster.

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