The furious Li Guangqian wanted to fight Li Ye yet dared not do so. After all, this was the Court of the Imperial Clan and he was an official here. Unless he didn't want his job anymore, how could he easily injure someone?
Even so, the essence of bullying was using one's vicious and imposing manner to overwhelm one's target until the latter would retreat in fear. How many bullies would actually ruin and kill their targets?
To his surprise, this approach was ineffective against Li Ye today. Surprised as he was, he was also sullen. His viciousness masked his weakness, after all. Even so, he was unwilling to allow Li Ye's imposing manner to overwhelm him and make him seem incompetent. He gnashed his teeth even harder and his experience turned even fiercer as he tried his best to make himself look even more vicious. "Do you really think I wouldn't dare?"
Li Ye casually pushed aside Li Guangqian. He couldn't even be bothered to spare more than a few words for the latter. "You're embarrassing yourself."
Li Ye walked to a writing desk and sat down in front of it. He told the scribe sitting at the other side of the desk, "Li Ye of Prince An's Manor requests to inherit Prince An's title."
The scribe sitting behind the desk was a youngster from a poor and humble family. He had been watching Li Guangqian, who was rather influential in the Court of the Imperial Clan, getting into a conflict with Li Ye. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, not knowing if he should register Li Ye's request.
"Li Ye! You good-for-nothing! It's the laws and decrees of the Tang Empire that a person without cultivation can neither take up an official post nor inherit a royal title!" Li Guangqian, who had been repeatedly humiliated by Li Ye, walked up to them. He leaned over and slammed his palm on the desk. He glared at Li Ye and said, "You're a good-for-nothing; a commoner is all you'll ever amount to! Don't dream of getting Prince An's title in your entire life!"
Ignoring Li Guangqian, Li Ye looked at the scribe who was at a loss as to what to do. "I've entered Level 1 of the Qi-refining Stage and am now a practitioner. Based on the laws and decrees of the Imperial Court and the regulations of the Court of the Imperial Clan, I can inherit the royal title."
On the table was a black jade box. The box could test whether one's cultivation had truly reached the Qi-refining Stage. Li Ye extended his palm and placed it on the black jade box. In an instant, the box gleamed with white light as if it was a bright lamp. This indicated that Li Ye's cultivation had reached the Qi-refining Stage.
The scribe looked shocked and astonished. After all, it wasn't a secret in the Court of the Imperial Clan that Li Ye couldn't cultivate and inherit a royal title. Several days ago, the Court of the Imperial Clan even presided over Li Ye's coming-of-age ceremony because Prince An was no longer alive.
Li Guangqian, who had been making a fuss, lost the vicious expression on his face. His facial features stiffened. He was so shocked that his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and he almost cried out in surprise.
"Since that's the case, I have the obligation to register your request, Heir Apparent..." The scribe swiftly stole a glance at Li Guangqian before picking up his writing brush.
"Halt!" Li Guangqian cried after recovering his senses. He wasn't willing to let this matter slide. "How can a good-for-nothing who can't cultivate suddenly enter the Qi-refining Stage? There must be something wrong with this black jade box!"
He looked at Li Ye maliciously and sneered. "Who doesn't know that one must first report himself at the Imperial Astronomical Observatory after entering the Qi-refining Stage? Li Ye, do you have the Taoist methods of the Imperial Astronomical Observatory?"
Both of them continued to argue and Li Ye's voice was particularly loud. The argument drew everyone in the main hall over. Even the bureaucrats outside the hall also assembled at the door to look inside, all of whom discussing spiritedly.
Li Ye stood up and turned to look at Li Guangqian. "Even if I have the Taoist methods of the Imperial Astronomical Observatory, you'd still insist that there's something wrong with the black jade box, bring a tampered box here, and then deliberately fail my cultivation test. You don't want me to register my name and even want to make me run around. You're deliberately trying to make things difficult for me, aren't you?"
The conduct of government officials was similar in 3,000 countries at all times and all places.
Li Guangqian raised his chin and replied smugly, "The Court of the Imperial Clan handles the affairs of the Imperial Clan. Whatever affair it is, we have the final say. As an official of the Court of the Imperial Clan, I'll naturally be fair and impartial in my conduct. Even if Prince An is still alive, he'll still have to comply with the rules and regulations!"
His meaning was clear: He was free to do with Li Ye however he liked because of his authority and it was Li Ye's fault for not having a backup when while trying to do something under his purview.
The reason Li Ye wanted to inherit the royal title was that the world was about to fall into chaos and he needed a proper position to make early plans. Otherwise, he would have to take the path he took in his previous life and die after suffering great humiliation. However, there were always malicious people blocking his path. Never mind Li Yao trying all kinds of ways to scheme against him. Now, Li Guangqian dared to fearlessly antagonize him thanks to his meager authority.
These nobodies all dared to bare their teeth and brandish their claws in front of him. Did they really think he was easily bullied?
Li Ye smiled.
His unexpected smile confused everyone, including Li Guangqian.
However, at that moment, Li Ye leaned forward and flew without moving his feet. With a warning whatsoever, he threw a hard punch at Li Guangqian's abdomen!
Li Guangqian was caught off guard and his feet left the ground from the impact of the punch. With his limbs facing forward and his body bent like a small shrimp, he was thrown backward with his eyeballs threatening to fly out their sockets. Then, a muffled thud resounded.
Without giving Li Guangqian time to recover his senses, Li Ye grabbed the former by the neck and dragged him down from midair. He viciously slammed Li Guangqian on the ground.
With a loud bang, Li Guangqian crashed so hard that the ground seemed to be shaking.
His ordeal wasn't over. Li Ye subsequently threw another punch, landing it on Li Guangqian's cheeks. Another bang resounded as several teeth flew out of Li Guangqian's mouth!
After suffering several attacks in succession, Li Guangqian was unable to unleash any of his Level 1 Qi-refining Stage cultivation. His mind was blank as Li Ye wrapped his hand around the former's neck. It was hard for him to breathe and his face took on a purple color. Blood was flowing out of his mouth.
Li Guangqian stared at Li Ye in puzzlement. For a moment, he forgot how to speak.
He never expected Li Ye to do something like this.
The first punch swiftly infuriated Li Guangqian.
The second attack caused Li Guangqian pain that was hard to bear.
The third attack completely stupefied Li Guangqian. His mind was blank.
Right then, Li Guangqian lost all will to fight back as he stared at how Li Ye's eyes were full of murderous intention. He was trembling on the inside and feeling helpless. For a moment, he was unable to react.
"You have an illustrious family background and a bright future but I'm all alone in this world. Yet you still block my path. Say, do you think I dare to kill you?" Li Ye took out a dagger and stared coolly at Li Guangqian. He was as frightening as a ghost.
However, Li Ye didn't wait for Li Guangqian's reply. Under the latter's frightened gaze, Li Ye pointed the dagger in his hand at the space between the latter's eyebrows and pierced it!
Li Guangqian was ultimately still a Level 1 Qi-refining practitioner. He finally reacted to the danger and did his utmost to turn his head to the side. Finally, at the most critical moment, he narrowly avoided the fate of having his forehead pierced.
Though he managed to prevent the ice-cold and sharp dagger from piercing a vital part, it still cut his ear. The dagger slid across the side of his head to pierce the floor.
Half of the blade penetrated the floor!
The dagger cut half of his ear, causing blood to gush out of the wound. Noticing a silver glint from the corner of his eye, Li Guangqian turned and saw how half of the blade of the dagger had disappeared into the ground. He was so frightened that his eyes bulged.
If not for his speedy response earlier, the dagger would certainly penetrate his brain after entering his midbrows. When that happened, he might even die!
Li Guangqian instantly understood that Li Ye was truly out to kill him!
"What a lunatic!"
Li Guangqian trembled all over.
Li Ye frowned as if he was unhappy to have missed his mark. He pulled the dagger out and grasped it in his hand again.
Li Guangqian was screaming deep inside after seeing the glinting dagger and Li Ye's ice-cold gaze that was imbued with murderous intention. He didn't doubt in the slightest that in the next moment, the lunatic in front of him would kill him with the dagger!
"No! Don't! Li Ye! Heir Apparent! I'll help you register; I guarantee I won't stop you from inheriting your royal title from now! I'll swear on my Taoist's heart! If I break my oath, then let five lightning strike me!" Li Guangqian yelled, so frightened that he was shuddering all over. His ear and mouth were bleeding profusely but he could no longer care about that.
Sneering, Li Ye put away his dagger and stood up. He turned to look at the scribe.
The scribe was beyond startled by the scene that unfolded before his eyes. When he saw Li Ye's gaze falling on him, his heart trembled. He dared not let Li Ye wait and swiftly sat down to help the latter register his name.
The bureaucrats inside and outside of the hall stared at the upright Li Ye and the dagger that was dripping with blood in his hand. Everyone was terribly astonished.
This was a good-for-nothing who couldn't cultivate for twenty years!
This was a genius who entered the Qi-refining Stage in a day!
This was a devil who could murder without blinking an eye!
Right then, a deep sense of fear of Li Ye was born in their hearts.
They had never met anyone who dared to attack an official inside the Court of the Imperial Clan.
If a commoner dared to do something like this, he would be imprisoned if he even managed to escape death.
However, Li Ye was a child of the Imperial Clan and a Prince's Heir Apparent. He was a young genius who was about to inherit Prince An's title. What kind of punishment would he suffer?
Li Ye didn't linger in the place. He put away his dagger and walked out of the lobby without any change in expression. The shocked bureaucrats who crowded to watch the argument earlier looked at him like they were looking like a monster.
Those that blocked Li Ye's path automatically made way for him. No one went up to stop him. In fact, no one even said anything. All of them followed him with their eyes until the figure of his back disappeared.
Right then, Li Ye, a good-for-nothing who had been despised and laughed at for twenty years, had established an unforgettable reputation in the Imperial Clan and Chang'an City.
From now onward, people would have to think twice before trying to make things difficult for him.
Li Guangqian struggled to climb back to his feet. He clutched his neck and coughed nonstop. The wretched expression on his face carried a trace of his lingering fears. For a moment, he was unable to calm down. Recalling Li Ye's terrifying gaze, he was glad that he managed to escape with his life.
When the rest heard the noise he made, they turned to look at him. They looked at him like they were looking at a fool. It was as if they were saying, "Look at you trying to be clever. Ended up harming yourself, didn't you?"
Li Guangqian felt a deep sense of shame washed over him after first suffering a beating from Li Ye and then receiving such gazes from his colleagues. With a turn of his eyeballs, he fainted out of anger.
He couldn't not faint. He really had no face to see people now.
Li Ye, who was walking out of the Court of the Imperial Clan, was at peace with himself. He felt no emotional turbulence at all.
One must pay the price for whatever one did. If he wanted to encounter less of such incidents in the future and prevent nobodies from blocking his path, he must display his vicious and tyrannical side. After all, he had nothing at all in the first place. If he wanted to deter others from bullying him, he must strike fear in others.
If he wanted a firm position, then he must be ruthless and cruel to both himself and others.
Dignity was something that one must fight for. If one didn't fight for it, one would have nothing at all.
Li Ye never thought of killing Li Guangqian because he knew the latter could successively dodge his somewhat slow dagger.
Even if Li Guangqian failed to dodge, Li Ye would also stop in time. At most, the dagger would pierce Li Guangqian's skin.
He might be ruthless but not insane.
Right then, inside the spacious lobby of the institution of the Court of the Imperial Clan, a middle-aged man dressed in a dark red official's robe sighed in annoyance. He helplessly looked at the person in front of him. "You let him go just like that? Where do I put my face?"
The middle-aged man was the Head of the Court of the Imperial Clan and the Emperor's son-in-law, Wu Hongshan. He was born in the noble Wu family and was an absolute master of Qi-refining techniques.
The one grinning in front of him was the childlike Duchess of Li, named Wu You. Like a spoiled child, she said, "Don't be mad anymore, Father. Life is so hard for Elder Brother Ye. Now that he finally became a Qi-refining practitioner and earned the right to inherit Prince An's title, are you going to forbid him from showing off his power?"
Wu Hongshan snorted to demonstrate his anger. "If he wants to show off his power, must he do it at the Court of the Imperial Clan? Fine, he has shown his power but he has also given me a slap in the face!"
Suddenly, a naughty thought came to Wu You. She immediately faked redness in her cheeks and said angrily, "You're really narrow-minded, Father! Don't you see that Elder Brother Ye also has no choice just now? Furthermore, it's technically that official of the Court of the Imperial Clan who provoked him first! In my opinion, the reason you suffered this slap on the face has nothing to do with Elder Brother Ye. Rather, it's because of your subordinate official!"
Wu Hongshan's face darkened. "What kind of daughters speak to their fathers the way you do?"
Wu You grinned and made a face at Wu Hongshan. She stood up and happily walked out of the room, her braided hair swaying behind her.
A doting look crossed Wu Hongshan's eyes as he watched Wu You walk out of the door. Then, he sighed and continued to deal with the documents in front of him. He muttered, "Even if he becomes a practitioner and the Court of the Imperial Clan doesn't stop him, can he really inherit Prince An's title?"