The ruler of the empire, Grand Quintin, was walking towards a forest behind the palace accompanied by his son, Alan Quintin.
This forest was not a normal forest, though. For generations, this forest held the most guarded secrets of the Imperial Family.
Furthermore, it’s the place where the family’s hidden strength lies.
Only the emperor is allowed to enter this forest normally. Nobody else is allowed to come in.
Due to that, Alan was very excited when his father asked him to come too.
The fact that his father allowed him to come with him means he has made up his mind to make him the next emperor.
Alan did not know much about Hidden History, only the little bits that he has heard from his uncle and mother. But just these little bits were enough for him to know that once he gains the backing of Hidden History, his ascension to the throne would be certain.
When the emperor and the crown prince reached the entrance of the forest, they were stopped by a magic barrier. The emperor took the Imperial Seal from a pocket and raised it.
Instantly, the seal and the barrier lit up at the same time. Then, a small entrance was opened in the barrier.
The emperor and the crown prince did not hesitate to pass through the entrance.
But they were stopped by a powerful pressure before taking their second step.
“Halt! Identify yourself! What are you doing here!?” A voice asked coldly.
Grand frowned, but he complied respectfully.
“My name is Grand Quintin, the emperor of this generation. Elder, I have brought the eldest son to see the head.”
“Your eldest son? What right does he have to be here?” The voice asked displeased. “This is not a place where someone like him can step in.”
Alan’s expression turned dark. If not by the fact he had been strongly warned against antagonizing the people here, he would have already erupted in rage.
Fortunately for him, he did not do that. Otherwise, in the best of the cases, he would have received a beating. In the worst of the cases, he would have lost a limb.
The emperor was not in the slightest bothered by the voice’s attitude. He knew that the person guarding the entrance was a very powerful powerhouse only below the gods. Thus, he was very respectful to him.
“Elder, I’m sure the head will agree to see us. Please inform him about my intentions.”
The voice in the forest fell deep in thought briefly before agreeing.
“Very well, wait for me here.”
Not even one minute later, the voice spoke up again.
“The head has agreed. Go in.”
“Understood. Thank you, Elder. Let’s go, Alan.”
The pair entered the forest and followed a path until a humble-looking cottage located in the center of the forest.
Although the cottage seemed humble, the truth was that it was built with very valuable materials, each one able to help with the cultivation of the people living inside.
There were several other cottages like this nearby, but the emperor ignored them. He walked directly towards the first cottage he saw and knocked on the door twice.
“Father, I’m here.”
“… Come in.” A voice came from inside.
Grand Quintin nodded and pushed the door open.
When he entered the cottage, he saw a kind-looking old man seated on a chair reading several documents.
The old man ignored Grand and Alan, not even bothering to glance at them. The emperor did not mind, though. He sat down in a chair nearby and signaled Alan to sit too.
Only five minutes later, when the old man finished reading the documents, he moved his gaze towards the emperor and the crown prince.
“You are here, Grand. I imagined you would be coming today, but I never expected you to bring someone with you.” He then fixed his gaze in Alan.
Alan shivered. For some reason, he felt his mind turn sluggish, and his body turned heavy. Moreover, a strange power invaded his body, scanning him from head to toe and unearthing all his secrets.
Such feeling frightened Alan. He could not help but think he was not against a human, but a god.
Fortunately, the old man moved his gaze away after a few seconds and stared at Grand once more.
“Speak, why are you here? Is it about what happened today?”
“… Yes, father. I want to know your opinion.”
“It’s very troublesome… I never expected something like this to happen in the empire. Even worse, we noticed nothing during all this time. Fortunately, that little girl, Evelyn, managed to find about the situation in time. Otherwise, we would have been in deep trouble.” The old man said with a sigh. When he mentioned Evelyn, though, his eyes shone in praise.
The emperor was a bit uncomfortable with that. He was not happy with his father praising his enemy.
“About that, father… What do you think about the church’s actions?”
As soon as he said that, the emperor felt a chill on his spine.
His father was glaring at him in anger.
“… I’m very disappointed, Grand. Are you really asking about this?”
“Father? What do you mean? Are you talking about Claus? Well, if a prince supported by the church gets in the thron–”
“Shut up!” The old man bellowed, silence Grand immediately. “I can’t believe you ended becoming in this, Grand. Don’t you realize you are the cause behind this mess!?”
“Do you think that I don’t know what have you been planning behind scenes? How you alienated that girl’s children and even tacitly agreed to a plan to kill them!? And even now, you are still thinking about how to kill your own children!”
The emperor paled in fear.
Ignoring that, the old man continued.
“Do you know why I agreed to pass the throne to you instead of your siblings? It was because you were the most outstanding of them. But now? Now I regret the choice I did back then! The current you is nothing more than trash unable to take care of this empire!”
Grand was unable to say anything. He could feel his father was truly angry this time.
In fact, his father had long been disappointed by the way he treated Claus and Dina, but because Claus never showed outstanding talent, and because one of Hidden History’s rules was not to interfere with the affairs of the Imperial Family unless they get out of hand, he never interfered.
But now, he regretted not interfering before.
“Sigh, what a shame.” The former emperor said sadly. “Of that girl two children, one is so talented in the sword that even a hidden powerhouse turned herself into a servant just to teach him in secret. As for the other, she has a great grasp of politics and leadership, getting the support of many noble families despite her circumstances.” The old man then looked at Alan, who had stayed silent until now. “What about your other children? Only Lena is passable. Bryan was nothing more than trash and this idiot in front of me only knows how to plot against his siblings. Is he the one who will succeed you? What a disappointment.”
“Shut up. I don’t want to hear your words now. How can you be so disappointing? Unfortunately, Claus did not seem to have any interest in the throne, and Dina is a woman. But any of them would have made a much better emperor than you. I prefer to put a woman on the throne than a fool like you!”
Alan turned red. He bit her lips fiercely until he drew blood and lowered his head in shame. At the same time, he was cursing this old bastard in his mind.
The old man seemed to know what Alan was thinking, but he said nothing. Instead, he closed his eyes and sighed.
“You are right, though. We can’t allow the church to put its hands on the throne. The church’s power has been growing without stop, and now it looks like these old men can’t stop their ambitions anymore.”
“… Father, then…”
“Go back, I’ll take care of it. As for you, Alan, I don’t think the current you is suitable to be an emperor. As you are now, I will never allow you to be the emperor.”
Alan bit his lips before speaking unwillingly.
“… I understand, Grandfather.”
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