Chapter 939: Past Secrets
There were guards in the archive room, but when they saw the golden token in Zu An’s hands, they immediately showed great respect and no longer troubled him.
After all, golden token envoys were second only in status to the chief commander.
There were even some who offered to help him search for what he needed, but Zu An refused.
He entered the archives room on his own.
Worrying that someone might notice something, he checked records from several different sections, and only read up on some of the things he really wanted to know in between them.
After staying for four hours, he finally found out some things.
What he had wanted information about was naturally the previous dynasty.
He wanted to know about what had happened during the transitional period too.
As he read through the records, he learned that the previous dynasty had been named Meng.
The emperor who had established that dynasty was also a powerful ruler with outstanding sons.
Unfortunately, having sons who were too outstanding wasn’t always a good thing.
The more outstanding they were, the more unwilling they were to just remain as citizens.
All of them had wanted to fight for the throne.
In the end, the crown prince had won, but the fight over the throne had left him with a deep psychological shadow.
He had always been on guard against his brothers, continuing to reduce their authority and influence until they eventually all perished in dejection.
Unfortunately, perhaps because of genes, all of his descendants died young for some reason.
It hadn’t even been long since he won the throne when authority and power began to gradually shift into the hands of a high official.
That high official was the great ancestor of the current Zhou Dynasty.
It was easy to imagine what had happened afterward.
The Meng Dynasty’s downfall was inevitable, so the throne was tactfully abdicated in favor of the great ancestor of the current Zhou Dynasty.
“Abdicated…” Zu An sneered.
That was how it was often written in historical records, but almost none of those previous rulers had given up their position willingly.
He wanted to know more details about that abdication, but there didn’t seem to be any records on it.
Even the abdication itself was only mentioned by a few records.
Even so, he still managed to find something related to it eventually.
After the last emperor of the Meng Dynasty abdicated, he had been conferred the title of Linzhang King and a population of ten thousand to manage.
His palace had been located in Linzhang Commandary’s Highsun City.
He had been allowed to use his ‘son of heaven’ banner and have five auxiliary carriages to follow him wherever he went.
His territory would follow the Meng State’s calendar, and all of the past rituals and ceremonies from the previous Meng Dynasty would be permitted.
He wouldn’t be referred to as a subject in letters to the authorities, and he could choose not to bow down to imperial orders.
Even though these were clearly methods Great Ancestor Zhou had used to bribe the hearts of the people, it had indeed been extremely effective.
In the past, even though there had been a lot of criticism toward the great ancestor seizing the throne, people had still commended their treatment of the previous Meng Dynasty’s royal family.
That was why the information hadn’t been covered up; it sung the praises of the Zhou Dynasty.
Zu An also noticed that the Meng State’s last emperor, or the Linzhang King, had still suffered from a lack of descendants even after that.
His children had all died at a young age.
He wanted to find out more information, nut he didn’t find anything useful even after searching the entire archive room.
As for the most secretive room, Zu An couldn't go inside.
He didn’t want to alert Zhuxie Chixin at the moment, since after all, he was a loyal dog to the emperor.
A sudden request to enter would definitely draw the emperor’s suspicion, and things would become troublesome then.
He returned all of the cases.
His mind moved quickly.
When he had first transmigrated into this world, there had been something wrong with his body.
He had learned from Old Mi that his body had been sealed from a young age by some sinister methods.
Old Mi had been surprised back then, because such methods were normally only used in the palace.
After all, the concubines in the palace committed all manner of crimes for the sake of receiving more favor.
Bearing children for the emperor was the publicly accepted proof of status in the harem.
All of them wanted to give birth to princes, and they didn’t want their competitors to give birth to any.
That meant all of them used all sorts of methods, from poison to scaring the other concubines so they had a miscarriage, to achieve that.
There were too many tragic instances of children from the royal family dying young.
The royal family naturally prohibited such actions.
Once discovered, the punishment would also become extremely severe.
But it was human nature.
Even if there were policies from above, there would be countermeasures below.
Later on, the harem came up with some new methods.
Nothing wrong could be seen on the surface, but later on, their treacherous plots would come to fruition.
The seal placed on the original owner of Zu An’s body was precisely one of those methods.
Zu An finally realized what was going on.
He had always found it strange why someone would place a seal on him rather than simply crippling him.
Wouldn’t that be much easier
But now he knew that it wasn’t that they hadn’t wanted to, but rather that they couldn't.
Crippling him would have made the symptoms too obvious, and others would eventually find out.
They could only use such treacherous methods.
Something else that had always left him puzzled was why the libationer would help him.
Back then, he had been involved in a scandal with the crown princess, and yet the libationer who usually didn’t get involved in worldly affairs had actually come out to declare his innocence.
He had still been extremely apprehensive back then, because the libationer’s reputation was quite great.
He had been worried that his skills might not be enough to deceive him.
And yet, he had never expected that he wouldn’t even have to use any skills.
The other party had actually just decided that what Zu An said was the truth.
Everyone else had believed what he said firmly without a doubt, but Zu An knew that the libationer had actually intentionally helped him.
But he couldn't understand why the libationer would help him.
After all, the two of them had had absolutely nothing to do with each other before!
At first, he had thought that the libationer did it on purpose to hinder the emperor a bit, but that explanation hadn’t seemed too realistic.
Only now that Xie Daoyun had mentioned that particular piece of history in the academy had he learned that the libationer had something to do with the previous dynasty’s royal family.
There weren’t many people in the entire capital who knew about that fact.
For some reason, everyone seemed to have forgotten about that segment of history.
Xie Daoyun had only ended up knowing about it because she was the disciple of one of the libationer’s great disciples.
But even then, she didn’t know exactly what kind of relationship the libationer had with the previous dynasty’s royal family.
Zu An’s mind moved quickly.
He suddenly thought of something. There’s no way I’m the previous dynasty’s prince, right
He had seen so many dramas in his previous world.
Similar stories were a common occurrence.
He had already thought of many plot lines.
For example, after the previous dynasty’s emperor had abdicated, the Zhou Dynasty’s great ancestor looked magnanimous on the surface, but had actually been worried in private.
As such, he had secretly arranged for some things to be done to the previous emperor’s heirs, thus cutting off his lineage.
Or perhaps it had been the other way around.
The Meng Dynasty’s royal family had known that a high official was plotting something and that their nation was in danger, so they made preparations ahead of time.
The first was to have a trusted aide bring away some of the royal family’s bloodline and go into hiding.
Then, when something did happen, they would expose themselves and rise up.
After that, with the Meng Dynasty’s banners, they would seize back the country.
But perhaps that high official’s influence was too great and the Meng Dynasty’s schemes were all seen through, causing them to be chased down, and even though he managed to escape, a seal was still placed on his body…
The libationer had a close relationship to the previous royal family, so he would obviously know about any such thing.
He might have even helped in the escape back then.
Now that I’ve returned to the capital, he recognized me, and that’s why he chose to help me.
The reason why we never came into contact with each other before was probably because it wasn’t the right time yet, or maybe the other party has an even greater plan.
Zu An shivered when he thought of all of that.
It turned out he had already become someone else’s chess piece without even knowing it.
“The only types of mooching I want to do are as a pretty boy with a woman, or living as a wealthy family’s good-for-nothing! There’s no way I would want to bear an entire dynasty’s grudge or something…” Zu An grumbled.
His usually optimistic mood was suddenly overcome with dejection.
He didn’t really care all that much that the emperor would never let him go once he found out.
After all, the two of them were already doomed to become enemies.
The worst part was that the entire royal family, all of the nobles, and even the civilian court officials wouldn’t let him go! After all, it had already been many years since the collapse of the Meng Dynasty, and Zhao Han’s prestige had skyrocketed after his victory against the fiend races.
Who would still cherish the previous dynasty at this point
When he came out of the Embroidery House, Zu An continued to tell himself to not worry about it anymore, that none of that imperial heir stuff had anything to do with him.
But his mood became worse and worse.
Even if he wanted to discard the past, other people wouldn’t let him! For example, the libationer, or even those hidden forces who were still loyal to the past Meng Dynasty…
Then, he couldn't help but think about the transitional period between the dynasties.
He suddenly felt a bit of anger when he thought about how an orphan like him had had his future stolen by that high official.
When he thought about Zhao Han, new grudges were added to old hatred.
He suddenly stopped.
He realized that he had unknowingly walked past an old well.
Moreover, it was the one that had a secret path connecting to the Eastern Palace.
After making sure that there was no one around him, he jumped straight in.
Then, he activated the mechanisms the way he remembered.
When he entered the secret passage, he changed out of his Embroidered Envoy uniform, then walked into the depths.
After a long time, suddenly, a beautiful figure appeared before his eyes.
Perhaps because it was already tevening, Bi Linglong was dressed in relaxed clothes, but they were still beautifully designed.
She looked extremely charming and elegant under the luminescent stones’ light.
She was pacing about by the entrance, her expression suggesting she was conflicted about something.
When she heard some activity, though, she raised her head.
A bit of happiness appeared in her eyes when she saw it was Zu An.
Then, she suddenly realized something.
Her face immediately turned red and she quickly said, “Don’t misunderstand! I was just checking if this secret passage was still in good condition; I wasn’t waiting for you or anything…”
But what she received in response was a big hug.
She wanted to say something else, but her lips were forcefully plugged up.
At the same time, she could hear the sound of clothes ripping.