Chapter 107: Those Books Ought To Be Torn Apart
In a familiar study, Roel looked at a shelf filled with diaries before casually taking one of them out. These were ancient books with more than a century of history to them, and they were the manifestation of the cost Ponte had to pay in order to use his powers.
It was not too long ago that Roel thought of burning the lot down as soon as an opportunity arose, but now, he only felt a little nostalgic looking at them.
His trip back into history lasted only for a short three days, but it had left a very deep impression on him. He had already lost his interest in removing these shameful records, especially now that he knew the truth behind them.
“You said that you wanted to talk to me about our ancestors. What is this about?”
Roel asked slightly distractedly while flipping through the pages of what could have been passed off as the mental records of a criminally-indisposed man.
“As you know, I have just awakened my bloodline to Silver-tier, so I have been stabilizing my condition over the last few days. However, while I was adjusting my physical condition, I looked through the records during my spare time and discovered quite a few hidden secrets.”
“Is that so? What are they?”
“There are many of them… Actually, I am Wade’s descendant.”
“I see… Wait, what did you just say?”
Roel was still calmly browsing through one of Ponte’s diaries when the gravity of Nora’s words sank in. He leaped up in astonishment and stared at her in disbelief. On the other hand, Nora wasn’t too surprised by Roel’s reaction. She nodded her head with a slightly bitter smile as she continued.
“You didn’t hear wrongly. I—or perhaps it’s more accurate to say the current royal bloodline of the Theocracy—have all descended from Wade Xeclyde.”
“What’s going on? Wasn’t he defeated by Holy Eminence Ryan in the timeline of this world?”
“He was defeated, but that doesn’t mean that he died.”
Nora sighed deeply before she began to divulge one of the most confidential secrets the royal family had been guarding tightly to Roel.
More than a hundred years ago, in the final moments of the March Turmoil in this world, Wade, despite his strength and the massive influence he had amassed, was unable to find Victoria till the very end. The intense final showdown Roel and Nora witnessed didn’t occur, and Wade didn’t manage to advance to Origin Level 2 either. As a result, he was easily defeated once Holy Eminence Ryan returned from the Austine Empire.
The chaos in Holy Capital Loren swiftly settled down, and Wade was put on trial. However, contrary to the rumors that he had been secretly put to death, the truth was that Wade had only been sentenced to life imprisonment.
There were three reasons that brought about such a light sentencing.
First and foremost, the attitude of Holy Eminence Ryan toward the March Turmoil had set the tone for Wade’s clemency.
In the history of the Xeclyde House, Holy Eminence Ryan was known to be a weak emperor. Against outsiders, he stood steadfast to protect and vie for the interests of his people, but when it came to dealing with internal affairs, he was exceptionally forgiving to the noble houses. He was the kind that faltered when it came to dealing with his own people, and this could be seen from how he succumbed to the demands of the nobles and the clergy, choosing to send Consort Mary out temporarily and bide for another opportunity to bring her back instead of risking internal strife.
However, the setbacks he had faced along the way toughened him up. He had already lost his wife due to his weakness, and he wasn’t about to lose Wade too. So, he rose up against all opposition and turned against the dissenting nobles for the first time. He argued that it was due to the nobles insisting on driving Mary away due to their biases that brought about such a major tear in his family, and he threatened to pursue this matter if they forced his hand.
Second, Victoria’s stance in the matter had quelled significant opposition against Wade's verdict.
She had become the representative of the conservative faction following the March Turmoil, and she had Ponte and the Ascart House’s full support behind her. There was effectively no one in the conservative faction who could challenge her leadership. She was unable to take the life of her already defeated younger brother, so the whole conservative faction could only bow down to the will of its leaders and maintain a grudging silence on this issue.
Third, the interests of the Five Eminent Noble Houses were also aligned with Wade’s clemency.
Back then, aside from the Ascarts and the neutral Lucernes, the other three eminent noble houses had chosen to support Wade in the coup d'état. How the mastermind of the incident was dealt with would set the tone of the accomplices’ punishments too. It was in the nobles’ best interest for Wade to not be dealt with too harshly. As such, when they learned that the Xeclydes were planning to grant clemency to Wade, they did everything they could to support that decision.
With these three factors in play, Wade’s punishment was eventually reduced to life imprisonment. Nevertheless, due to the controversy of the verdict, the Xeclydes, with the support of the other noble houses, let out word through unofficial channels that Wade had been secretly put to death.
“I can understand how Wade was able to remain alive in the aftermath of the March Turmoil, but I still don’t understand how you could have been his descendant. What about Victoria’s descendants? Shouldn’t they have become the rightful heirs to the throne instead?”
“According to the records, Empress Victoria did get married, but the truth is that it was a fake marriage. Her husband, William, was actually one of her close maids cross-dressing.”
“Ah? Is such a thing possible?”
Roel was shocked by Nora’s words. He had always thought that the royal family was filled with prim and proper individuals, dignified to their very bones. Yet, it turned out that they played all sorts of nifty tricks like this…
Nora could understand Roel’s astonishment too. She was even more shocked than him when she first learned of this matter.
“Wait a moment. Could it be that Empress Victoria faked her marriage in order to…”
“Correct. One the reasons is because she needed to have a spouse in order for her to legitimately take Wade’s offspring as her own and raise them to become successors of the throne, and the other is due to Mister Ponte.”
Roel could somewhat understand Victoria’s decision. The culture in the Theocracy back then was far more conservative than at present. It would be a huge scandal if the empress of the Theocracy was found committing adultery with a married noble. The honor of the royal family would be sullied, and she would risk turning all of the noblewomen against her.
Noblemen cheating on their wives had always been a sore spot for noblewomen, so this was an issue that they felt strongly about.
It was probably out of consideration of this that Ponte chose to reject Victoria after careful consideration. He couldn’t allow Victoria to put so much on the line for him. It was just that he would have never imagined that Victoria’s feelings for him weren't just at the level of a short-term infatuation—she truly loved him and wanted to be with him, no matter how long it would take.
So, Victoria set her eyes on a long-term plan instead. Through adopting Wade’s offspring, she was able to seal the mouths of her subjects who constantly raised complaints about the lack of a successor. Following that, she began biding her time for Ponte, waiting two whole decades till Ponte’s wife finally passed away.
Ponte’s wife was not a transcendent, and she could be considered to be one of the poor victims of the circle of nobility’s great tradition of political marriages. After bearing Ponte’s child, the two of them spent the rest of their life estranged from one another, with neither side interfering with the affairs of the other. In the end, she passed away in her forties.
By then, Ponte was already in his fifties, and Victoria was also nearing her forties too. The two of them were old by mortal standards, but neither of them were mortals. For powerful transcendents like them, they were still very much in their prime then, making it the golden age for marriage.
“In other words, they managed to get together in the end? If I recall correctly, Victoria’s rule lasted for around 40 years, and she eventually passed away from illness. In other words, they were together with one another for around 20 years?”
Faced with Roel’s question, Nora’s expression suddenly grew a little bizarre. She hesitated for a brief moment before finally posing a fairly interesting question of her own.
“After all we have talked about, do you still believe the history in the records?”
“… That’s true. What’s your take on the matter?”
“It’s all my deduction from this point onward. I believe that Victoria faked her death and passed the crown onto the next generation before eloping with Ponte.”
“Oh? Is there any basis behind your deduction?”
This drama-like twist left Roel completely flabbergasted. It was so shocking that he couldn’t help but feel skeptical about the matter. In response, Nora began sharing her analysis.
“The basis of my deduction is that the royal mausoleum didn’t open during that period of time…”
“Alright, you need not say anymore. I trust you.”
Roel rubbed his temples to calm himself down a little. For an empress who was lauded as a wise ruler by the masses, it didn’t make sense for Victoria not to be buried in the royal mausoleum when she passed away. It was likely that she wasn’t even dead in the first place.
In fact, it was already rather improbable for a high-level transcendent like Victoria to die to an illness. There were many academics who proposed conspiracy theories regarding this matter.
“Several years after Empress Victoria passed away, Marquess Ponte also mysteriously vanished. He left behind a letter saying that he was going to investigate the fates of the preceding patriarchs of the Ascart House who had gone missing in history. Ever since then, there had been no news on him.”
“I see. I understand now.”
Roel nodded with a sigh. It was not a bad thing that Ponte got together with Victoria in the end. At the very least, there was a happy ending to one of the many missing patriarchs of the Ascart House. Still, it sure was ironic for him to actually go missing himself while searching for the other missing people.
“Wait a moment, aren’t the two of them high-level transcendents? It has been a hundred years since they went missing, but is it possible that…”
“Mm. It’s possible that they might still be alive.”
Nora’s response astonished Roel. He turned to look at the pile of yellow diaries and he suddenly felt that he should just burn them to ashes.
Damn it! It’s one thing if Ponte is already dead and the diaries are the only memories of him left, but if he’s still alive, what use do I have for these perverted diaries?
“However, this is all just speculation right now. There is no concrete evidence to prove my deduction, and most of those who lived in that era have already passed away by now.”
“True, it’s only a possibility. Speaking of which, what happened to Wade in the end?”
“… Wade spent his later years imprisoned, and he eventually passed away woefully in his early thirties.”
Roel shook his head lamentably. As an Origin Level 3 transcendent, Wade should have been able to live for many years, but who would have thought that he would die such an early death. It looked like depression could really reduce one’s lifespan. For someone as ambitious as Wade to be forced to live his life meaninglessly imprisoned, it must really have been a living hell for him.
Nora’s mood also grew a little heavy talking about it. It was a long time before Roel thought of another question.
“Did the treatment of the heretics change in the end?”
“Several plans were put in the pipeline to resolve this issue, but they ended up not being executed. When news of Prince Wade’s death began spreading, the heretics immediately began fleeing the country out of fear of being purged. With the large-scale migration, the proportion of heretics in the Theocracy reduced greatly, minimizing the societal conflict arising from demographic differences. The situation remains that way even to this day…”
Roel looked out of the window as he thought about those heretic soldiers who fought fearlessly to demand equal rights for themselves and their offspring. He couldn’t speak for all of the heretics, but those who were in Wade’s allied armies were truly awe-inspiring. Their conviction and passion were rarely seen in any other army.
It was just a pity that they lost their leader and ended up scattering before they could accomplish their ambition. Dreams and ideals that used to resonate strongly in the hearts of so many people vanished with hardly a trace left, becoming no more than the dust of history. The thought that he would be like them one day made him feel insignificant in the world.
Chapter a little late, but here it is folks!
Also, the usual obligatory dropping of Discord Link: https://discord.gg/ATHVehx
We completed all of our missions thus far woohoo~~ I keep saying this, but I'll update the mission list by tomorrow @@ There will be quite a few fun foreshadowing ahead to hype things up, so look forward to it!