Mommy Villainess Chapter 59
59 Tree Of Truth
TILLY felt the same burning in her chest that made her lose control just yesterday.
Just when she thought she was going to lose it again, she felt a cool Mana that seemed to quench the sudden fire in her heart. It felt familiar because Kiho's Mana was also cool like that. But it was still different because after putting out the burning in her chest, the coolness of the strange Mana turned lukewarm.
A Mana was that neither hot nor cold could only belong to the little on in her womb.
[Winter, our baby boy.]
She gently placed her hands on her tummy. It seemed like her son noticed her anger rising up so he used his own Mana to calm her down. Winter was really special.
[Thank you, baby.]
"Tilly, are you okay?" Duke Prescott asked worriedly. "Does your stomach hurt?"
Tilly gasped when she realized that aside from Kiho, she was yet to share the happy news with her father. Well, she planned to tell him but she almost forgot about it because of the serious conversation they were having. "Father, I have good news for you," she said excitedly. "I'm pregnant now."
Her father looked shocked. And then he gave her a small smile. "Congratulations, Tilly," he said warmly. The happiness was evident in his eyes. But there was also sadness in them. "Your mother would have been happy for you as well if she was still with us."
"I know that, Father," she said with a smile. "Actually, I plan to visit Mother's grave with Kiho to tell her about my pregnancy."
"Please do that."
"Father, will you come with us?"
He looked taken aback by her request. "But why would you want to bring me along? You should spend your free time with your family."
"We're family, Father," she gently reminded him. "Even if I'm already married and will have my own child soon, I will always be your little girl."
He looked touched by her words, but it seemed like he also felt awkward.
[Well, I can't blame Father because I don't remember being affectionate to him during my first life.]
But of course, she also wanted to change her relationship with her father this time.
"Alright, I'll accept your invitation," the duke said. "I want to visit your mother's grave with you and your family."
She smiled at that, and then got serious when she remembered what her father said a while ago. "Father, is it true that Her Royal Highness killed my mother?"
"Yes, but we don't have evidence to prove it," he father said grimly. "I told you that your mother died in an accident. That was true. But what I didn't tell you was when we found her body, her heart was missing."
She gasped at that. "Mother heart was ripped out?"
Her father nodded, his mood understandably turning sour. "Your mother trusted the princess even though we were warned by the Denvers." He smiled sadly. "She was that kind of woman, you know? Marianne would always try to see the good in others. Your mother had a big heart, and that heart caused her death."
"What happened, Father?" she asked, her chest tightening in pain. "What do you mean when you said Mother trusted the princess?"
"The Denvers told us that Her Royal Highness has a device that can detect Fire Mages. They sealed your mother's Mana so she wouldn't get detected. But unfortunately, the princess still found out about her blood when she got pregnant with you," the duke explained. "The Denvers didn't have the ability to conceal your heart, Tilly."
She got teary-eyed when she felt a pang in her chest. "It was my fault"
"Of course not," her father denied. "Your mother never blamed you. I also never thought that it was your fault."
She heard that but she already got upset.
[Maybe it's the hormones.]
"Tilly, there was no one to blame but the princess," her father said firmly. "When she asked your mother to be her dance teacher, she convinced Marianne that she was an ally. That she was looking for the surviving Fire Mages to mend their broken relationship with the Moonchesters."
But since Captain Denver was still alive, that could only mean one thing. "Mother didn't tell the princess about the Denvers?"
"No, she didn't," he confirmed. "Your mother didn't want to put the Denvers in danger. So, she asked Morgan Denver to protect her memories while she was trying to figure out the princess's plan. Apparently, Her Royal Highness said she needed the heart of the Supreme Fire Mage to summon the sky beast. And according to the princess, once she summoned the Red Phoenix, she would use it to find the Great Fire Tree."
"The 'Great Fire Tree?' I haven't heard about that, Father."
"It's a knowledge that only the royal family knows," the duke said. "Her Royal Highness told your mother that the Great Fire Tree knows the truth that would clear the Fire Mages of their "betrayal." And once the truth is out, the princess promised that the royal family would welcome the Fire Mages back to the empire."
"I can believe the existence of the Great Fire Tree, Father," she said. "But I can't believe that the princess would accept the Fire Mages."
"Unfortunately, your mother believed the princess," her father said sadly. "They made a compromise. Marianne promised that she would help the princess summon the sky beast and in return, Her Royal Highness would secure the safety of the surviving Fire Mages."
She bit her lower lip in annoyance. [That b*tch tricked my mother!]
"We can't really blame your mother, Tilly," he said gently as if he was trying to calm her down. "Back then, the princess was only a child. Your mother thought that a little girl like the princess wasn't capable of killing innocent people."
She held back her tears. "Mother was betrayed by the princess."
Her father nodded. "When you were born, your Mother decided to help the princess summon the sky beast. The Denvers were also ready to come forward to give assistance. But then, your mother found out that the princess needed to rip out her heart to summon the Red Phoenix. And Her Royal Highness didn't have any intention of finding the Great Fire Tree."
[God, the princess wasn't normal even as a kid!]
"When your mother discovered the plan, she immediately ran away," the duke continued. "While on her way to the Saint's temple where we were supposed to meet, she called Morgan Denver to inform him that the princess had betrayed us. Thanks to your mother's call, the Denvers were saved from exposing themselves as Fire Mages. But it caused Marianne's life. She was being chased by the princess that time. To make sure that Her Royal Highness wouldn't find her connection to the Denvers, she burned the communication device that she used. After that, I don't know what exactly happened next. I just woke up to the bad news a few hours after your mother got into an "accident.""
"Where were you when Mother was being chased, Father?"
"I was passed out," the duke said, frustrated. "Thanks to Morgan Denver's fast thinking, he came to me and temporarily erased my memories about your mother's real identity. He also did that to protect their family's secret. I lost consciousness because of the method they used to erase my memories."
Her forehead knotted in confusion. "Your memories was erased, Father?"
"Yes," he said. "And it was a smart move. During your mother's funeral, Her Royal Highness manipulated my mind to make me confess about the Fire Mages that had been secretly assisting Marianne. Since I had no recollection of the truth, I was cleared of suspicion."
"How did you know that you were manipulated, Father?"
"After the princess summoned me, Morgan Denver secretly met up with me to return my memories," he explained. "He wanted to ask me what I plan to do to protect you. I told him that I decided to bow my head to the royal family and live a quiet life with you, hoping that the princess wouldn't take an interest in you. Then, I asked him to seal my memories again and only return it when your life is in danger. And so, here I am now."
"Father, why did you choose to bow your head to the royal family?" she asked in frustration. "The princess killed my mother."
"I'm just as angry as you are, Tilly," Duke Prescott said. "But I needed to protect you. I was hoping that you didn't have the heart that they needed. You may call me fool, but I think I made the right decision. If we went to war with the princess then, we would have died. To fight Her Royal Highness, we need power that can match up to hers. We didn't have that." He shook his head as if he was driving away bad memories. "That was also the reason why I asked Morgan Denver to erase my memories. If he didn't, I may have lost my mind."
"Father, I can't take this anymore," Tilly said firmly. "I'll find the Great Fire Tree using the Red Phoenix. Once I discover the truth, I will make sure that the Fire Mages will be allowed back to the empire." She clenched her fists tight. "And if I prove that the Fire Mages didn't betray the royal family, I will do everything to overthrow the Moonchesters."
"I'M GLAD that you didn't cut Captain Sherwood's tongue, Your Majesty."
Aku let out a frustrated sigh at what Sir Gregory said.
Yes, he may have removed Sir Gregory as his personal knight to keep an eye on Captain Sherwood. But that didn't mean he wasn't working for him anymore. Aside from Kiho, the old knight was the person he trusted most in the empire.
"Captain Sherwood is still a duke," Aku said while he was resting on the sofa of his office. "The Sherwoods wouldn't keep quiet if I hurt him more than I already had."
"The nobles and the people are also demanding for an explanation, Your Majesty," Sir Gregory said. "They want to know what happened to Her Royal Highness."
"I'll give a statement later," he promised. He needed to shut them up so he could focus on finding the heart that he needed. "Have you found a clue as to why the replica of the Red Phoenix had gone berserk?"
"My deepest apologies, Your Majesty," the knight said. "The traces were cleaned up neatly."
"I knew this wouldn't be easy," he said while staring at the ceiling. "But we need to find the heart as soon as possible, Sir Gregory. After all, Lady Prescott is already pregnant."
"Do you believe the prophecy, Your Majesty?"
"Howard is dodgy but he would never lie about his prophecies," he reasoned. "That's the High Priest's only saving grace. He wouldn't get into that position despite his background if his prophecies had never come true."
"Then, will you kill the child?"
"I am torn," he admitted. "The prophecy said that Kiho's child would be needed by the empire. Even though I'm like this, I'm still the emperor and I want the best for my citizens."
"I understand that, Your Majesty," Sir Gregory said. "But would you sacrifice the throne for that the throne that has been with the Moonchesters for centuries now?"
"That what makes it hard, Sir Gregory," Aku said, then he closed his eyes. Actually, the prophecy that was announced to the public was incomplete. Kiho's child wouldn't just be a special existence to the empire. The child was destined to be more than that. "After all, Kiho's son was prophesied to steal the throne from me."
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