Mommy Villainess Chapter 2
2 Begin Again
TILLY finally believed that she really went back in time the moment she saw Duke Maverick Prescott during breakfast a while ago.
The duke is only in his late forties and he's probably just as fit as most young men in their twenties. Also, her father is still considered handsome despite his age. The duke's youthful look and vast wealth attract noblewomen all over the empire. But still, her father refused to remarry. Apparently, he's still in love with her late mother.
['Why am I the only one in the family with dark hair?'] Tilly asked herself while looking at the huge family portrait hanging on the gallery wall. ['My mother and father both have platinum blonde hair.']
Thankfully, she looks like the carbon copy of her mother. She also got her father's purple eyes. If not, she'd probably think that she was adopted.
"My lady, is everything alright?"
Tilly turned to Isabella the young maid that she grew up with.
['Even Isabella has light-colored hair.']
The young maid has light brown hair, pale skin, and freckles on her small face. They're both nineteen years old but Isabella looks small for their age.
Well, Tilly is pretty well-endowed compared to other ladies around her.
When she hit puberty, her body changed abruptly. Now she has ample breasts and thin waist that is emphasized by the corset she wore. And under her heavy dress hides her round and firm bottom, as well as her creamy long legs that she used to be so proud of.
She remembered that during her first life, she enjoyed the lustful look the men in the empire threw her way.
['Ah, I also remember that Kiho used to get into fights because of that.']
Despite their loveless marriage in the past, Kiho was a protective husband. He was stoic but he was always respectful of her. Her ex-husband got into a lot of fights against other noblemen to protect her honor.
Too bad she took Kino for granted then because of her fixation on the throne.
['I can't even remember why I wanted so much power back then.']
My lady, what's the matter?" asked Isabelle in a worried voice. "You're too quiet today. Are you still upset because of His Majesty's official engagement with Her Royal Highness?"
Tilly blinked in surprise.
['Ah, that's right. In this timeline, the emperor just announced his official engagement with the princess who also happens to be his own twin sister.']
She remembered that in the past, she sulked for several days after the news broke out. She was so upset because she lost the chance to be the empress then. Not that she stood a chance.
Anyway, Tilly was thankful that she got reincarnated during the time that her behavior was still acceptable. Well, she used to throw tantrums every now and then. But acting like a spoiled brat was common for noble children so the servants in House Prescott was able to tolerate her.
If her memory served her right, she only started to act like a crazy woman after she gave birth to Winter.
"Fortunately, I already got over it," said Tilly to Isabella in an effort to reassure the maid that she's fine. Then, she turned to the family portrait again. She couldn't take her eyes off of her mother's beauty. She wasn't saying that just because she looked like her mommy. Lady Marianna Prescott just happened to be a stunning woman when she was alive. "I'm just wondering why I was born with dark hair when both my parents have light-colored hair."
She has dark chocolate hair. Sometimes it looked completely black. But when hit by sunlight, it becomes a lighter shade of brown.
['Unlike mine, Lucina Morganna's hair is completely jet-black.']
She gently shook her head to drive her thoughts away from Lady Morganna. As far as she remembered, she wouldn't meet the other lady in this timeline yet. They were meant to meet a decade later from now.
"If it wasn't for your dark hair, you wouldn't have been chosen to marry the scary captain of the Black Serpent Knights," said Isabella in a scared and worried voice. "My lady, you're going to meet the captain very soon, aren't you? That must be the reason why you're restless."
She was reincarnated a few days after the emperor and her father agreed to marry her off with Captain Kiho of the Black Serpent Knights. His Majesty told the duke about the prophecy.
['According to that prophecy, Captain Kiho's child would become a special existence to the empire. But only a woman with "dark hair" would be able to carry his child in her womb.']
During her first life, she only felt rage when her father told her that she must marry Kiho.
Duke Prescott was loyal to the royal family so it was a big honor for him when his daughter was chosen for a role that would serve the empire favorably. Because of her father's loyalty to the throne, he didn't listen to her when she said she didn't want to marry the captain. She secretly hated Kiho for simply accepting the emperor's "request."
Well, that was how she took the news in the past.
But right now, she's not scared or angry.
"I'm actually looking forward to it," said Tilly with a smile. When she turned to Isabella and saw the maid's disbelieving look, she laughed softly. "Captain Kiho may not be that bad, Isabella. Most of the time, rumors are exaggerated for entertainment purposes."
Isabella blinked in surprise. "My lady, this is very different from your reaction the first time you heard about the news of your engagement."
Tilly just smiled as a response.
After she was reborn as Matilda Sandrine Yap in the modern world, she learned the importance of family. She was lucky enough to grow up in a household filled with love. Her parents from her second life loved each other genuinely, and that was the reason why she wanted to build her own family then. Unfortunately, her parents died when she was only in her early twenties.
Anyway, even if she was happy in her second life as a modern woman, she still wasn't able to forget her first life as Lady Matilda Prescott. She lived in regret every single day.
She thought she would be able to make amends with her past if she became a good mother. Plus, when she reached her late twenties in her second life, her maternal instinct kicked in. She longed for the child that she mistreated as Lady Prescott. Because of that, she became desperate to be a mother. Unfortunately, she lost her baby.
['I don't why and how I came back here but one thing is for sure: I won't make the same mistake I did in the past. I will treasure Kiho and Winter in this lifetime.']
"Tilly, what are you staring at the portrait for?"
Tilly turned around and was greeted by Duke Maverick Prescott.
Her father looked dashing in his dark tail coat, an outfit that befitted a higher noble like him. Every single accessory on him also screamed of luxury. Well, the duke owned a "mining company" of spirit stones. Those are a type of gem that has magic stored in them.
Ah, right. In this world, magic is prevalent. Most of the nobles in the empire were born with Mana or magic ability.
She was also born with magic ability but her Mana wasn't powerful enough for combat.
"Greetings, Father," said Tilly politely with a little curtsy. "I apologize for making you wait."
Duke Prescott walked towards her and stood in front of her, then he turned to Isabella and dismissed the maid. When there were only the two of them, he looked up at the huge portrait behind her. "Tilly, do you miss your mother?"
"Every single day, Father," she said truthfully.
Lady Marianna Prescott died when the carriage she was riding in went out of control and fell into a cliff. Tilly was only seven then. During her first life, she didn't remember her mother that much because of her selfishness.
But now that she was back after living another life in the modern world, she had learned to appreciate her family.
Her thoughts were cut off when the duke's gaze landed on her face.
"You must be feeling that way because of your upcoming marriage," said her father in a gentle tone. "I am nothing compared to your mother but I'm also your parent, Tilly. As your father, I wish you all the happiness in the world. And I know that you can achieve that by fulfilling your duty as a noble. If you marry Captain Kiho and give birth to his child that will one day become the pillar of the empire, it would be a great honor for our family."
She already lived in a modern world where women had more rights than the ladies born in an empire with outdated customs, so hearing what her father just said didn't sit well with her.
But she had to remind herself that she wasn't in the modern world anymore. It sucks to follow outdated customs for a second time but she had to if she wanted to fit in. Plus, she wanted to be with Kiho and Winter again anyway.
['I must endure.']
"I understand, Father," said Tilly with a small smile. "I will fulfill my noble duty for the honor of our family and the empire."
Her father's face lit up in surprise. "You have this air of maturity around you now, Tilly. I can't believe you're the same girl who cried her eyes out when His Majesty officially announced his engagement."
Okay, that made her cheeks flush with embarrassment. "Let's forget about that, Father."
The duke laughed heartily.
['Let's take advantage of his good mood.']
"Father," said Tilly in a sweet voice. "Can I have a time with only myself before I officially meet Captain Kiho next week?"
['I MISSED the smell of the sea.']
Tilly couldn't help by smile while looking at the vast sea before her.
She's currently at a port town called Atlenta. It took her five hours via carriage before she got there. Surprisingly, her father allowed her to wander around without a knight or a maid.
['Maybe he feels guilty for marrying me off with a man I haven't met yet.']
Anyway, since she was alone, she wore a black hooded cloak over a casual street dress. To hide her noble upbringing, she didn't wear any accessory. Although she had a pouch of gold coins with her.
['It can't be helped since I want to pig out tonight.']
She arrived at Atlenta in the afternoon and spent time buying ingredients in the market.
The interesting thing about the port town was the spices that could only be found there. Back on Earth, those spices were known in Asian countries. Here on Moonchester Empire, they came from the "East Continent."
She specifically went to Atlenta to eat seafood because she knew that they use spices to cook the food they serve. The restaurants in the Royal Capital serve so-so food. She was an Asian in her second life so she knew her spices well.
['Atlenta is like a little "Asian Town," if that makes any sense.']
Her thoughts were cut off when she finally arrived at the restaurant.
It's called 'Sea Feast' and it faces the pier. The restaurant is small and it looks shabby. In her previous life, Kiho brought there when Winter was seven. He took them out because she said she wanted to eat lobster that day. But when she saw the restaurant from the outside, she got mad at Kiho for bringing her to a "cheap" place. Then, she walked out on him and their son.
That was also the last time that they went on a "family trip."
During her second life, she realized that Kiho probably brought her at Sea Feast because he knew that the food there were great.
She went at that restaurant to find out if her guess was correct.
"Welcome, dear customer," said a smiling young lady when she entered Sea Feast.
Then, the friendly waitress ushered her to a table beside the window. Like she expected, the restaurant isn't full. Aside from her, there were only a group of eight young men occupying the two tables beside hers.
The young men all wore a black long-sleeved shirt as if it was their uniform.
['They must be colleagues or something.']
"Two king crabs please," said Tilly to the waitress after she asked for her order. "And one huge glass of beer. Thank you."
She has low alcohol tolerance but she loved pairing seafood with beer. She specially loved crabs and beer together. It was one of her guilty pleasures when it comes to food.
"Miss, do you have a companion?" asked the waitress in a worried tone. "One king crab weighs four kilograms. Its body is even bigger than your face, dear customer."
Tilly laughed softly at the waitress "warning." "I can manage."
TILLY loved seafood.
The two giant king crabs on her table made he really happy. The waitress wasn't lying when she said that one crab was bigger than her face. But she also didn't lie when she said she can manage.
In fact, she was able to chow down all the crab legs in ten minutes.
['The crabs here are so good. They're sweet and not salty. Now I know why Kiho brought me here in the past.']
She was already tipsy just from one glass of beer. But the crabs were so delicious that she asked for another glass. She was really having a good time
but something was making her uncomfortable.
['Why are they looking at me?']
The young men on the other table were respectful enough not to approach her. But they were watching her with full curiosity and amusement. They weren't even trying to be discreet.
Plus, they were talking loudly about her.
"She's really good at eating crabs."
"This is the first time I saw a lady finish two king crabs by herself."
"And she's using her hands."
['I can hear you.']
Of course, she had to use her hands (that she was thoroughly first). How else was she supposed to get the crab meat? Plus, she was really good at cracking crab legs.
It was kind of tiring to separate the legs from the body by twisting and pulling but it was worth it. There was an insane amount of meat in the legs. Her tummy was so happy that she just let her fellow customers watch her as if they were looking at an animal in a zoo.
['These amateurs don't know anything about eating crabs.'] Tilly said to herself while rolling up the sleeves of her cloak and dress. ['Let me show you how it's done.']
This time, she broke the body of the crab in half with her bare hands.
In her surprise, her "audience" applauded her as if breaking the crab was a huge feat. The young men clapped their hands and the others even whistled in admiration.
"She really eats well."
"Amazing. She's eating with her bare hands but she still looks elegant."
"Could she be a noble?"
"Nobles don't go to shabby restaurants to eat, fool."
"Our restaurant isn't shabby!" yelled the waitress at the young men.
The guys had the decency to apologize.
"But hey. Do you know whom the lady reminds me of?"
['Why do I feel like I'm doing mukbang here?'] Tilly asked herself while eating the crab meat from the body she just broke in half. ['They make me feel like I'm a celebrity.']
She's talking gibberish now. Perhaps it's the alcohol. She should finish her meal and go home before she gets completely drunk.
['Now, let's move on to my favorite part of a crab.']
She saved the best for last.
By that, she meant the claws. The meat in the crab legs was a popular choice. But for her, the sweetest nuggets of meat were in the claws.
Unlike the body of the crab, the claws were hard to break.
['I knew this would happen so I brought my secret weapon.']
"My lady, let me help you."
Tilly was surprised to receive help from a familiar voice just as she was pulling her "secret weapon" from the pocket of her cloak.
When she looked up at the owner of the ~undeniably~ low and husky voice, she got the biggest surprise of her life.
Captain Kiho is standing in front of her while offering a small wooden mallet to her.
['He's still as handsome as I remember.']
He has chestnut hair a color of deep brown with red hues that complements his pale skin. To be honest, he has an immaculately handsome face that she finds it hard to believe that people are afraid of him.
['Well, he rarely appears in social gatherings. Plus, because of his bad reputation, a lot of people are too afraid to look at him properly.']
And that was a shame.
If people would only look at Kiho properly, they will be blown away by his face. Well, he's stoic but that doesn't lessen his beauty.
['But more than his pretty face, his body is something that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past.']
Kiho is very tall but he's quite slender for a man of his status. Most of his enemies look down on him for being "pretty and lean" because stupid people think that only bulging muscles equal strength.
['Besides, under his clothes hide a sinful body']
And even though Kiho appeared stoic on the outside, he was actually a beast in the sheets.
Okay, she stopped fantasizing about her ex-husband when she felt her cheeks burn.
['Gosh. Why do I have to remember that?!']
"My lady?" said Kiho, trying to get her attention. "You can use my mallet to crack the claws."
Only seafood fanatics would carry around a crab mallet with them.
"Thank you, but I can manage," said Tilly in an apologetic voice. Then, she pulled out her very own wooden crab mallet from her pocket. "I have my own mallet."
Kiho looked pleasantly surprised when he saw the mallet in her hand. Then, much to her shock, his face lit up instantly. He was even looking at her with twinkle in his beautiful amber eyes. Eyes that sometimes appear as golden orbs.
He didn't say anything but the respect and admiration in his eyes were very clear.
Tilly couldn't help but wonder at his cute reaction. ['Did Captain Kiho fell in love with me at first sight because I carry around a mallet like he does?']
Tilly was startled when the young men from the other table suddenly greeted Kiho in a loud voice.
['Ah. So those dudes are members of the Black Serpent Knights.]
Her forehead knotted in confusion. Did her father allow her to go to Atlenta "alone" because he knew that Kiho was there?
"Keep it down," said Kiho to his knights in a low voice. Then, he turned to her. "If you'll excuse me for a while, my lady."
She just smiled and waved her hand at him.
Kiho then slightly bowed his head before he walked towards his men.
Now that her ex-husband was no longer in front of her, she let out a deep breath, She may appear calm on the outside, but she was having a slight panic attack inside. Okay, she didn't expect to meet Kiho at the restaurant.
But what really shocked her was her reaction when she saw him.
['His face and his body are still my style!']
In her memories of her past life, the thing that stuck to her the most was the time their family fell apart. Because of that, she almost forgot the feelings she had for Kiho before.
Well, she wasn't in love with the captain. But she had always been physically attracted to him. Plus, she remembered that she liked how he was so patient with her. He really tried to tolerate her when they were still married. But when she started to kill and hurt people for her ambition, he finally snapped and abandoned her. Not that she could blame him.
['Wait, I didn't come here to catch feelings.']
While Kiho had his back on her as he talked to his knights in a serious manner, she discreetly asked the waitress for her bill. As soon as she was done paying, she grabbed the last crab leg on her plate and quietly left the restaurant.
Or so she thought.
"My lady, it's dangerous to walk alone at night."
Of course it was Kiho. Obviously, he followed her. Did she really think that she could sneak away from the captain of the Black Serpent Knights without him noticing?
['Being drunk made me dumb.']
When she reached the dock where no other visible person was around, she turned around to face Kiho. He was standing a few meters away from her. The distance was far enough to not invade her personal space, but also close enough to reach her if danger suddenly befalls on her.
['He's really a knight through and through.']
"My lady, you're drunk," said Kiho in his usual monotone voice. "Please allow me to walk you home."
He was so thoughtful and everything but her mind was filled with impure thoughts.
It was the shirt, okay?
The black long-sleeved shirt that the captain wore clung to his toned body beautifully. Even the slim pants and boots that he wore made his legs look attractive to her.
['Why am I so horny tonight?']
To force her thoughts away from his sinful body, she put the crab leg into her mouth and started to suck the meat from the shell. Delicious food was always a good solution.
But then, she suddenly realized that it may look like she was sucking the crab leg suggestively when she saw Kiho gulp while staring at her mouth.
['Ah, I'm not the only who's hot and bothered here.']
She didn't know if it was the alcohol in her system or her desperation to have a child
but she suddenly felt like flirting with him.
They were bound to get married and have a child together anyway.
"Captain," said Tilly as soon as she pulled the crab leg out of her mouth. "I can clearly see that we're both attracted to each other. Shall we spend the night together?"
Kiho remained pokerfaced but she saw panic cross his now glowing yellowish eyes. Ah, the captain was flustered. "My lady, you seem to be really drunk."
She walked towards him and when he didn't move an inch, she stood in front of him and looked up at him with a grin. "Captain, are you the type of man who will only sleep with his betrothed?"
"That seems to be the case, my lady."
He said that as if he was forcing the words out of his mouth. Plus, she could see in his eyes that he was conflicted that it was hard for him to reject her.
['Aw, I didn't know that I have this kind of effect on my ex-husband.']
Or perhaps she just didn't pay attention in the past.
"Captain, I have a solution to your problem," said Tilly in a playful voice. Then, she stood on her toes and whispered in Kiho's ear. "Let's get married."