Mommy Villainess Chapter 24
24 The Clash
WHEN Kiho raised his hand, a thick wall of ice sprouted from the ground to protect him from Lahara's attack. A black spear-shaped energy pierced through and broke his ice wall in an instant. He already expected that so he geared up for a physical attack this time.
On the other hand, Lahara looked like she was ready to attack, too.
They were about to clash against each other when a harsh gush of wind literally stopped them from moving.
He felt a sting on his cheek the same time he saw Lahara's cheek bleed from a long cut.
Then, all of a sudden, Captain Sherwood appeared between him and Lahara.
"Stop," Captain Sherwood commanded in a calm yet composed voice while looking back and forth between him and Lahara. "If you don't, I will arrest both of you for threatening the royal family. How dare you fight in the palace when you know that His Majesty and Her Royal Highness are both in the throne room right now?"
That cleared his head.
"I apologize," Kiho said while the shattered pieces of ice around them were melting down. The water from it vaporized right away and returned to him as Mana. "As a captain, I shouldn't have let an extra large serpent provoke me."
Captain Sherwood's intimidating aura disappeared when he stifled a laugh.
Ah, right. The captain of the Blue Dragon Knights was quite an oddball. He was very strong but clumsy. He looked intimidating in the battlefield but if he wasn't in a war, he was as carefree as the next guy. His complexity made him the hardest to fathom out of all the captains of the Four Orders.
"Don't laugh," Lahara scolded Captain Sherwood. "Your squad's name was made in honor of the Blue Dragon Clan, Noel Sherwood. I'm technically your living ancestor."
Captain Sherwood cleared his throat. When his composure was back, he turned to Lahara with a somber look on his face. "Madam Lahara, we are all aware that you are a descendant of the Blue Dragon Clan. But when you left the White Tower to become a knight, your bloodline doesn't really matter anymore. The knighthood of the Four Orders doesn't give special treatment to anyone. That means you have to follow the protocol. Captain Kiho is in a higher rank than you so please show him some respect."
Lahara let out a deep sigh. "I understand, Captain Sherwood," she said, then she turned to him. "I apologize for my rudeness, Captain Kiho."
"I was at fault, too," Kiho said. "Let's just pretend that this didn't happen."
"HOW boring of it to end like that."
Nia smiled at Aku's disappointment. "Brother, we should be thankful that Captain Sherwood stopped Lahara and Captain Kiho in time. If they clashed, the palace would definitely get destroyed."
Both of Lahara and Kiho's Mana were so crazily strong that there was no way they wouldn't feel the tension from the outside to the throne room.
But the emperor liked "fun" events so he definitely wouldn't punish the two for fighting in their presence. The disappointed look on his brother's face told her that he would have preferred it if the clash between Lahara and Kiho pushed through.
"Why did they fight, Nia?" Aku asked her. "What happened?"
"Lahara may have thought that Captain Kiho didn't show enough respect to me."
"Did the captain offend you, Nia?"
"Not at all, brother," she answered. "I've known Captain Kiho ever since you brought him to the palace eight years ago. He doesn't have the etiquette of a noble but I know that his loyalty to our family is stronger than the loyalty of other noblemen. He wouldn't disrespect us in any way."
The emperor looked relieved.
Her brother never tried to hide his fondness with Kiho. He wasn't even aware that his friendship with the captain fueled the envy of the higher nobles. Because of that, they bullied Kiho every time the emperor wasn't looking.
[But Captain Kiho endured it in silence and never told my brother a single word about it.]
"Brother, may I know the reason you summoned me?" Nia asked.
Aku flicked his fingers.
Just like that, her body floated in the air. The next thing she knew, she was already plopped on the emperor's lap. To secure her position, he wrapped a possessive arm around her waist.
"Brother, this is inappropriate," she scolded him. "This is a blatant disrespect to the throne."
"But I missed you," Aku whined. "We barely see each other recently."
She smiled and placed a hand on his cheek. That gesture instantly made her foolish brother smile warmly at her. "I missed you, too, brother."
"Call me by my name, Nia," he told her. Then, he held the hand on his face and kissed her palm. "We're going to get married soon. You should stop calling me "brother." I'm just a few seconds older than you anyway."
"Alright, Aku," she said with a smile.
Smiling at her brother had always been tiring to her. But she had to if she wanted to make him dance on the palm of her hand.
He smiled brightly at that. "Nia, Kiho is getting married ahead of us. I know you're busy but can you help Lady Prescott become the new star of the social circle?"
"That wouldn't be a problem," she said. "Lady Prescott is a duke's daughter. She already has the right to stand next to a princess like me. All I have to do is show my support to her and the other ladies will automatically suck up to her."
The emperor laughed heartily. "I like how you say cruel things with a kind voice, Nia."
She just smiled at his remark. "Do you intend to make House Prescott stronger?"
"Kiho is going to be the next duke of House Prescott so I have to back them up," he admitted. "And according to the prophecy, his son is going to be a special existence to the empire. I want the child to be born in a strong and influential household. In the end, it's the royal family who would gain benefits if House Prescott became a stronger ally. After all, I consider Kiho as my sword. It wouldn't be bad if House Prescott became my shield."
"Are you starting to feel the pressure from the Noble Faction?"
"I don't like them," he complained. "Their hatred towards the monarchy is unjustifiable. They just want to ruin the system to feed their greed. I will never let them steal the power from the royal family. Nia, we have to protect the throne." He placed a hand on her cheek and gently ran a thumb over her lower lip. "Once you give birth to our heir, the Noble Faction will weaken. We have to crush them before they become more arrogant."
"I understand, brother," she said. When he raised a brow at her, she corrected herself. "Aku."
Aku smiled. Then, he gently pinched her chin and moved her head to face him properly. He looked at her for a while before he closed his eyes and leaned down to kiss her on the lips.
Nia closed her eyes and forced herself to kiss the emperor back. Her mouth moved emotionlessly yet still in synch with his mouth. Was it because they were twins? Ah, being reminded that she was kissing her own brother made her skin crawl.
[This is so disgusting.]
TILLY was shocked to hear the strange voice in her mind.
Worse, that voice was forcing stupid ideas in her head. She knew that she shouldn't listen but there was something in the voice that was putting her on a daze.
She felt like if she listened more, she would go crazy.
[No], Tilly said firmly in her head. [I don't want to be an empress! And I will never involve my son in a political war!]
She looked at the moonflower and realized that it might be the cause of the "voice" in her head. It took her all the willpower in her to snap out of the "spell" and crush the flower in her hand. Then, she stood up and walked towards the night table.
She lifted the vase and threw it in the floor. It created a loud crash and as a result, the maids outside her room knocked and came running inside.
"Lady Prescott, please don't move," Carla, one of the older maids in their mansion, told her. "We'll clean it up right away."
"Thank you," Tilly said. Then, she held her head and acted like she was in pain. "I suddenly felt dizzy and bumped into the table," she lied so the servants wouldn't think that she was disrespecting the princess's present. To be more convincing, she looked at the scattered moonflowers on the ground with a forced sadness on her face. "What a pity that the flowers Her Royal Highness sent me have gone to waste."
[Princess Nia, I don't know what you're up to but I swear I won't let you ruin my life and my family this time.]
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