Mommy Villainess Chapter 58
58 Unknown Origin
KNOWING that their conversation was going to be very confidential, Tilly invited her father to the study instead.
She remembered Kiho told her that the study had a strong spell inside. No one or nothing could hear anything inside the room even if someone was to use an eavesdropping spell. After the servants brought tea and snacks for them, she told them not to disturb them unless she called for them.
"Father, is it true that my mother was a commoner?" Tilly asked while gripping the handle of her tea cup tight. "But as far as I know, Mother was a daughter of a fallen marquis from a neighboring kingdom."
She knew that House Prescott was a fallen noble house.
Also, according to the memory of her past life, her father was already a duke when he met her mother. So even if her mother's family had already fallen, the fact that she was still a noble made it possible for her parents to get married.
"I paid House McMillan from Alec Kingdom to adopt Marianne before we get married," Duke Prescott confessed. "As the Duke of Oakes, our vassal families wouldn't have let me marry Marianne if she remained a commoner. But House McMillan wasted the fortune I paid them to gambling and that caused their downfall."
Okay, she was shocked by that revelation.
Her father practically bought a noble title for her mother. Well, being a "lady" was technically a title because only women with high social rank could be called that way.
"If Mother was only adopted by House Prescott before you got married, then what kind of family Mother had before?" she asked curiously. "And did you meet here in the Royal Capital?"
"No, we didn't meet here," her father answered. Then, he sipped tea before he continued. "I met Marianne when I was at Aranka."
"Isn't that the small village at the border of our territory?"
"Yes, Aranka is a village at the border of Oakes," her father confirmed. "It used to be a poor village. I went there to personally check on our people." Much to her surprise, the duke smiled as if he just remembered a fond memory. "Your mother was working at the village as a Healer."
'Healers' were what the empire considered as "unlicensed doctors." They used herbal medicines and some simple spells to cure diseases.
[I didn't know that my mother used to be Healer.]
"But her passion was dancing," the duke added. "Whenever she had free time, she would teach the children of Aranka to dance."
Okay, she was surprised again.
Well, she didn't really have many memories of her mother because she died when she was still small. And in the past, her father rarely talked about her.
"When I met Marianne, she was already an orphan," Duke Prescott said. "Actually, she grew up in an orphanage so she didn't know who her parents were. But I didn't care about that. The moment I fell in love with your mother, I knew that she was the one for me."
She got teary-eyed at that.
[Father really loved my mother. And he still does.]
God, she wanted that kind of love with Kiho.
"I was willing to give up my nobility to marry Marianne," her father continued. "But your mother didn't want me to lose the life I was used to. So even if it hurt her pride, she let House McMillan adopt her just so she could marry me."
"I'm sure Mother didn't regret that, Father," she consoled him. "I also know that Mother was aware that you would still marry her even if everyone around you were against it. But because she loved you so much, she chose to protect the kind of life that you were used to. And you made it worth it, Father."
The duke looked touched by her words. "I hope so, daughter. I really hope so."
She just smiled and sipped her tea.
[I'm sure my father and my mother had a lovely marriage.]
"When your mother got pregnant with you, her Mana started to weaken," Duke Prescott said. "During that time, Marquis Morgan Denver Captain Mikhail Denver's father came to talk to us and told us a surprising truth about your mother's blood. You may already have an idea so let me confirm it now: your mother was a Fire Mage."
She couldn't say that she was surprised.
Ever since Captain Denver told her that she had the heart of the Supreme Fire Mage, she realized right away that her mother was a Fire Mage. It couldn't be her father because House Prescott was an old family. If they were Fire Mages, then they should have been purged by the royal family a long time ago.
On the other hand, she thought her mother came from another kingdom and somehow managed to hide the fact that she had Fire Mage blood in her.
"We were scared when Marquis Denver proved to us that Marianne was indeed a Fire Mage," her father continued. "To be precise, we were scared for you. We thought of leaving the Royal Capital and moving to Oakes, our dukedom. But when your mother was two months pregnant with you, she received an invitation from Her Royal Highness. During that time, the princess was ten years old."
Her forehead knotted in confusion. "What kind of invitation was that?"
"The princess requested Marianne to be her personal dance teacher," he answered.
It was normal for royals to be served by high-ranking nobles. In fact, most of the ladies-in-waiting for the princess came from good families. So Princess Nia requesting her mother to be her dance teacher could be considered normal.
[Except the princess is a b*tch you can't trust.]
"We couldn't turn her down and use your mother's pregnancy as an excuse," her father continued. "After all, House Prescott is a part of the Royal Faction. Marquis Denver also advised that we should stay at the Royal Capital to avoid suspicions."
She swallowed before she asked the question that had been bugging her. "Father, at that age, do you think Her Royal Highness was already aware that my mother was a Fire Mage? Was that the reason why the princess asked Mother to be her dance teacher?"
"Yes, Tilly," Duke Prescott answered. Then, anger crossed his eyes. That was a rare sight because her father was one of the calmest people that she knew. He always acted with elegance and showing one's anger wasn't considered as one. "I'll tell you the truth now: your mother didn't die from accident she was killed by Her Royal Highness."
Tilly felt a sharp pang of pain in her heart when she heard that.
[God, I should have burnt that princess to crisp!]
"I DON'T want to die, Your Majesty," Kiho calmly told the emperor. "I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren born. You can try to kill me right now but I can't promise that I won't fight back to protect myself."
"You're crazy, Kiho. You're crazily stupid. And here I thought I raised you well," Emperor Aku said, the glow in his red eyes fading away as the ground returned to being stable. Thankfully, no physical damage to the throne room occurred from his bout of anger. "If other people heard what you just said, you'd be thrown to jail for threatening me."
"That wasn't a threat," he said. "I would really do it, Your Majesty."
The emperor closed his eyes tight as if he was calming himself.
When Emperor Aku was acting that way, he was reminded that the emperor was almost a decade older than him. He often forgets that because first, His Majesty was immature. Second, he looked young for his age. And lastly, the emperor liked imitating how young people in the empire talk.
But Emperor Aku was very different when he was in the battlefield. He was anything but immature as a leader.
"Why do you want to quit as the captain of the Black Serpent Knights?" Emperor Aku asked when he opened his eyes. "I'll decide after I hear your reason."
"Tilly's pregnancy is sensitive," Kiho answered honestly. "I want to personally take care of her to make sure that both her and our baby would stay safe and healthy."
"Lady Prescott is pregnant?"
"Yes, Your Majesty," he answered and even in his own ears, he sounded really excited. "My wife is already pregnant."
"According to the prophecy, your child's existence is going to be special to the empire," the emperor said carefully. "Of course, I want him to be delivered in this world safely as well. But is it really necessary for you to personally look after your wife during her pregnancy? You can hire as many servants as you want to make sure that Lady Prescott will be safe and healthy."
"I want to give my wife my full moral support," he reasoned. "And aside from that, I also want to study under Duke Prescott's guidance."
The emperor raised an eyebrow. "Does Duke Prescott intend to pass his title to you already?'
"Not only that, Your Majesty," he said. "The duke also wants me to have my own surname."
His Majesty's eyes widened in surprise. "That's big, Kiho. House Prescott is one of the empire's oldest families. Duke Prescott should have told that to me first."
He scratched his cheek in embarrassment. "Ah, His Grace doesn't know yet that I intend to accept his offer. I told my decision to Tilly first. And then to you, Your Majesty. Duke Prescott would definitely tell you right away once I give him my decision."
"When you become a duke with your own name, then you'd have all the right to quit as the captain of the Black Serpent Knights," the emperor said while shaking his head. "And once you become the Duke of Oakes, I'm sure you'd request the whole Black Serpent Knights squad to be your private army."
It was his turn to be shocked. "How did you know that, Your Majesty?"
"Because I'd do the same," he said. "Will you really abandon me for your wife, Kiho?"
"Im not abandoning you, Your Majesty," he denied. "I gave many years of my life to you. Is it selfish that I want to dedicate my life to Tilly now? Do you consider that as betrayal?"
"And what if I do?"
"I guess I'd be a traitor then."
Emperor Aku let out a frustrated sigh. "Be careful with what you say, Kiho. I'm still the emperor, you know."
He just bowed as an acknowledgement of his mistake.
"It's true that you gave many years of your life doing dirty jobs for me," the emperor said. "Thanks to you, I was able to expand my territory without having to leave the throne for a long time. I don't want you to see me as a tyrant so let's compromise: I'll give you a year long break."
He raised one finger to shut him up. "One year, Kiho. You can look after your wife until she gives birth and study how to become a proper duke. But after a year, I want you to come back and report to me. We'll talk again whether I'll let you quit or not. Just so you know, you can be a duke and a captain at the same time. Captain Sherwood is also a duke."
He wasn't really happy with that but he could see that Emperor Aku wouldn't change his mind anymore.
"Accept it, Kiho," Emperor Aku ordered in a strict voice, his red eyes glowing again. "If you don't accept my offer, I'll take your legs before I let you quit being a captain."
Who was it again that said he didn't want him to see him as a tyrant?
Kiho bowed his head to the emperor. "My utmost gratitude for your generosity, Your Majesty."
AKU didn't expect Kiho to say that he wanted to quit being a captain of the Black Serpent Knights.
Now he kind of regretted setting him up with Lady Prescott. If he knew that his "shadow beast" would fall in love with the lady, he wouldn't marry him off to her. After all, he was a very possessive person.
He was the emperor. Everything here belonged to him, right?
[Kiho should be grateful that I'm a generous emperor. If he was another person, I would have killed him on the spot for abandoning me for his lover. But since it's Kiho, I'll just consider it as him being in his rebellious phase.]
"I'm not in a good mood right now, Captain Sherwood," Aku said while putting on his black gloves. Right now, he was in the underground cell of his palace no servants or knights in sight. "Don't test my patience today."
Captain Sherwood was now chained on the wall, topless. His body was now painted with whip marks all over. His face the face that Nia once admired was now almost unrecognizable from beatings. Ah, how the great Duke of Kessler had fallen.
"You can torture me all you want, Your Majesty," Captain Sherwood said with a smile. "But still, you can't get what you want from me. My memories are sealed and no matter how powerful you are, you can't break it. I won't tell you who has the heart of the Supreme Fire Mage."
Aku had always known that Nia was looking for the heart that could summon the sky beast. Of course, he also knew everyone who worked for her.
Unfortunately, his dear twin sister had done a good job to hide the traces of her search from him. Nia couldn't control his mind. But she could manipulate his memories so whenever he found a clue about the heart, she would always erase it from his mind.
And he let her because it wasn't the time for him yet to summon the real sky beast.
But after what happened to Nia, he changed his mind.
"I said I'm not in the mood to play mind games with you," Aku said coldly. "I guess you really want to die now."
"Do you want to exchange information with me, Your Majesty?"
"I'll tell you where the heart is, Your Majesty," the captain said, smirking this time. "But in return, tell me who Kiho is."
"Kiho was a mercenary I picked up from a neighboring country," he answered stiffly. "I thought everyone already knows that."
"You can't fool me, Your Majesty," Captain Sherwood said with a crazed laugh. "Kiho is that child the one that has blood purer than the Moonchesters, isn't he?"
Aku smirked. And in one swift movement, he was already standing in front of Captain Sherwood with his fingers wrapped tightly around his neck. Of course, the captain choked immediately. "I guess you don't need a tongue anymore, Captain Sherwood."
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