Hidden History (1)
“I was waiting for you.” I smiled at the old man that appeared suddenly.
“… Prince Claus.” The old man was serious. He seemed very impacted by the fact he met me here.
“It’s an honor that someone like you knows my name.” I said.
The old man frowned. Could it be that he noticed I was being sarcastic?
Well, I don’t care. It’s not like I need to be polite to him.
“… What are you doing here? No, what do you mean when you said you were waiting for me?” He asked coldly.
“Just like it sounds.” I said as though I was speaking to an old friend. “I knew you were going to pass for this place, so I waited for you here.”
Seeing my smile, the old man’s face turned serious. I could see his hand was moving towards the sword in his waist, a sign that his wariness was at the maximum.
It’s normal, though. If he, a fourteenth-layer practitioner, was so easily intercepted, how strong was I then?
The old man watched my expression carefully. He realized I was completely relaxed even when his hand was about to reach his sword. It was as though I notice nothing.
Such behavior, however, put the old man even more nervous.
“… Are you truly Prince Claus?”
“Who do you think I am then?” I asked amusedly. “Stop being so nervous, old man. If I wanted to kill you, you would have died long ago.”
“Is it so?” The old man said calmly. However, I could see that his body was completely tensed, ready to explode at any moment.
I sighed. Why is it so hard to talk to someone in this day and age?
“Just… Calm down, okay? Why don’t you hear me first? If you want to attack after that, then I’ll be happy to oblige.”
The old man thought for a moment and nodded.
“Do speak then.”
“Great. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Claus Quintin, the fourth prince of the Arcadian Empire. But you already knew it, right? After all, you are the secret bodyguard of the emperor.”
“… It looks like you know a lot.”
I chuckled. “Of course. And I also know that you are someone from that place and that you came here to kill me.”
The eyes of the old man opened wide. For an instant, he had the impulse to unsheathe his sword and attack me, but when he saw my relaxed smile, he suppressed it.
Instead, he calmed himself down and looked at me fixedly.
“How do you know that?”
“What? That you came from that place? Or that you are here to kill me?
“Both.” The old man said with furrowed brows.
I smiled. “… Well, I will only say that I have my sources of information.”
The old man narrowed his eyes. He seemed to be processing the words I just said.
Then, a flash of realization seemed to appear in his eyes.
“I heard you have a teacher… Could it be, your teacher is also…?”
“From that place? No, you are mistaken. My teacher is not from there.” I don’t have a teacher, actually.
The old man sighed in relief. “That is good. I thought someone had broken the rules.”
I smiled in amusement. This old man surely has a lot of expressions.
To explain his origins, this old man came from that place.[Hidden History], the true pillar of the imperial family.
Think about it. If each of the three great families has people beyond the twelfth layer at their disposition, what about the imperial family?
Of course, it’s true the imperial family has the (limited) authority to command any powerhouse of the empire. But besides that, the imperial family also has its own secret force.[Hidden History].
Different from the secret forces of the other families, though, the secret force of the Imperial family is slightly more unique.
How so? Let’s start with the current emperor.
My father, Grand Quintin, is a 42-years-old eleventh-layer powerhouse, the current emperor of the Arcadian Empire.
Not too shabby for an emperor. But it begets several questions.
Firstly, how is it possible for an eleventh-layer powerhouse to keep the entire empire in check?
Secondly, the emperor is just 42 years old. Still a middle-aged man. As an eleventh-layer powerhouse, he can easily live from ninety to one hundred years of age healthily.
But, what about the emperor before him, my grandfather?
If my father was born when my grandfather was in his twenties, he should be around sixty to seventy years of age now. That is still a healthy age for a powerhouse.
Then, where is him?
That is where [Hidden History] comes into being.
Being the emperor comes with several perks and advantages, but its main disadvantage is the fact that, as the emperor, you have to deal with all the affairs of the empire. Therefore, there is much less time for cultivation than ideal.
Thus, breaking beyond the twelfth layer and increasing your lifespan becomes much harder.
Due to that, most emperors tend to pass down the throne when they reach a certain age or cultivation and become part of [Hidden History], giving up their authority as emperors and putting all their focus on becoming stronger.
Of course, sometimes there are emperors who prefer to continue ruling instead of going into seclusion. But even they are forced to pass down the throne when they become seventy, to avoid the stagnation of the empire.
However, that method has a problem. A nation can’t have more than one ruler. If there are two people with the highest authority, it’s just a matter of time before the nation is divided.
Thus, each emperor makes a commitment when they become part of [Hidden History]. From that point onwards, they are forbidden from interfering with the empire’s matters.
Not just the emperor, but also the empress, and the emperor’s concubines. None of them are allowed to continue interfering with the empire’s matters after the throne is passed down.
But at the same time, the new emperor can’t order the people in [Hidden History] except by one person, someone sent by [Hidden History] to act as the emperor’s secret bodyguard.
Besides that, the only circumstance when [Hidden History] is allowed to interfere is when the empire is in danger.
Of course, [Hidden History] has other people besides the former emperors. Former empress, princes of the royal family who were unable to inherit the throne, powerhouses completely loyal to the royal family, among others. Many of them are old monsters older than one hundred years and wielding terrifying strength.
Just like the old man in front of me.
I don’t know if he is one of the former emperors, but he is definitively an old powerhouse around 120 years old.
“… I truly did not expect this, Prince Claus. To think you are a powerhouse of this level. How old are you? Eighteen? Nineteen? Goddess, I’m ashamed of all the years I have spent training.” The old man sighed in self-deprecation.
I smiled with false modesty. “What can I say? I’m a genius.”
“… Let’s stop with the jokes here. Tell me prince, what is the reason you stopped me?”
I narrowed my eyes and observed the old man with a playful smile.
“I just want to ask you a question. Old man, what do you think about the current crown prince?”
As soon as he heard the question, the old man’s gaze turned sharp.
Current schedule: 10 Chapters/week