Mommy Villainess Chapter 60
60 Burning Resolve
"DO YOU know what you're saying, Tilly?" Duke Prescott, her father, asked her. He seemed shocked by her declaration a while ago. "You're going to overthrow the Moonchesters once you find the truth? We don't even know if the Great Fire Tree really exists."
"It exists," Tilly said confidently. "I don't know why but my gut feeling is telling me that the Great Fire Tree really exists. And my instinct is telling me that I have to find it."
"Are you planning to use the "truth" that you'd find and use it against the royal family?"
"Father, to be honest, I thought I should mend the Fire Mages' relationship with the Moonchesters," she admitted. "I have the heart of the Supreme Fire Mage but Kiho vowed his loyalty to the throne. I know that he will choose me over the emperor. But it would mean he'd betray His Majesty for me. And I don't want Kiho to end up as a traitor."
"That's true. Captain Kiho is the one who's going to be in a tight position," the duke agreed. "I feel bad but even though I had my memories when the emperor told me about the prophecy, I would have still agreed to marry you off to the captain. A direct request from His Majesty would be hard to reject. And the prophecy was made public so had we turned down the request, our family would have suffered heavily. We could have been accused of treason as well."
That was true.
The prophecy came from the High Priest himself. His Eminence said that Kiho's child would be a special existence to the empire. Had House Prescott refused to marry her off to the captain, they would have been scrutinized.
Being accused of treason was possible, too. After all, turning down an offer that would apparently bring prosperity to the empire would have been disservice to the royal family. Plus, high ranking nobles like them had "noblesse oblige."
Noblesse oblige meant that privileged people like them had the responsibility to act with generosity and nobility towards the less privilege. So when House Prescott was chosen to fulfill the prophecy for the good of the empire, they weren't really in the position to refuse. If they did, they would have been a disgrace to the nobility while the commoners would have hated them.
[It's really hard to be the enemy of the royal family.]
"I don't regret marrying Kiho, Father," she said. "And I will protect him."
"What's your plan, Tilly?"
"I'll forget about my foolish thought of fixing our relationship with the royal family," she said. "Aside from the fact that the princess killed my mother, I also realized that the emperor would definitely not forgive me for burning Her Royal Highness to crisp. I unwittingly declared a war against them but I could no longer take it back. And after hearing the truth about Mother's death, I know for a fact that I couldn't bow my head to them anymore. I have to fight or else, I'll lose everything."
"I understand your feelings, daughter," her father said carefully. "But it wouldn't be easy. You know that, don't you?"
She knew that.
To be honest, when she returned to this time, she never thought she would be fighting against the royal family. All she wanted was to have a good and decent life with Kiho and Winter. But it was time to shed her naivety.
Plus, it wasn't like she had nothing to fight against the royal family. Aside from her special heart, she still had the knowledge from her first life.
"Father, His Majesty's lineage would end in his generation," she said confidently. "He would never have an heir."
The duke looked surprised by her revelation. "Are you sure, Tilly? How did you know that?"
"I can't tell you yet, Father," she said apologetically. "And please don't tell it to other people yet. Let's save it until it comes in handy."
Her father looked at her long and hard as if he was studying her. "Alright. I will trust you."
"Thank you, Father."
To be honest, she was hoping that her hunch was correct.
Princess Nia had been taking infertility medicine since she was a kid so by this time, the princess might already lost her ability to get pregnant.
Of course, the emperor had the option to choose another empress. Or a concubine, at least. If it was exposed to the public that Her Royal Highness couldn't bear a child for the emperor, the nobles would settle for a "half-breed" heir instead of no one.
[But in my past life, His Majesty refused to get married to another lady.]
The emperor was too crazy for Princess Nia to pick a new wife.
And that was exactly why Emperor Aku accepted Winter as his heir. The higher nobles also easily accepted her son because of the prophecy.
[That reminds me]
"Father, about the prophecy" she started. "Did it say anything else other than my son being a special existence to the empire?"
Her father shook his head. "That was the only thing that the High Priest announced. Why did you ask?"
"I feel like the prophecy was incomplete," she said. "It didn't specify how my son would be a special existence to the empire."
"Do you think there's something more to it?"
"Yes, Father," she said. "But according to Captain Denver, we can't trust the High Priest. So I'm thinking that the prophecy he announced had something more to it. I think we need to find a way to get the High Priest tell us the whole prophecy."
"I'll secretly meet up with Morgan Denver and tell him about your plan to know the full prophecy," her father said. "When will you tell Captain Kiho the truth about your identity?"
"Father, do you agree with my decision?"
"When I spent time training Captain Kiho, I saw how much he loves you," the duke said. "I trust your husband."
She smiled at that. "Thank you, Father."
"Oh," he said as if he remembered something. "When we visit your mother's grave, would it be alright if we stay at our ancestral home for the short vacation? I want to show you something."
"Sure, Father," she said. "What is it that you want to show me?"
"I haven't told you this before but our ancestors aided the royal family to seal the Four Ancient Beasts in the past," her father said. "Particulary, the Prescotts were trained how to seal the Red Phoenix."
Her eyes widened in shock. "Really, Father?"
"Yes. I taught Captain Kiho the method on how to seal the red bird," he confirmed. "I showed your mother the stuff our ancestors used to seal the Red Phoenix before but she didn't find any use of it. I'm thinking that it might not be the case for you. We have some treasure that are related to the Red Phoenix that might be useful for you or the heart that you possess."
"That will be great, Father," she said. "Thank you."
"I'll also tell the story of your birth once we get to our ancestral home," Duke Prescott promised. "I can't tell you right now because I want Captain Kiho to hear it as well. I want your husband to know that it's a miracle that you're here with us." His facial expression suddenly turned stern. "In short, I want Captain Kiho to know that I'll have his head if he betrays you."
"Kiho won't do that, Father," Tilly assured him between giggle. "My husband will protect me and our baby forever."
AKU'S head was breaking into two.
Right now, he was in a meeting with twelve of his advisors and they were sharing a long table. Standing on his right was Sir Gregory and on his left was Captain Sherwood. Yes, he had to free the captain or else, House Sherwood wouldn't leave him alone. He couldn't deal with another problem just yet.
[But I'm not yet done with Captain Sherwood, of course.]
Anyway, his advisors weren't happy when he told them that Nia was in a comatose state. Imagine if he told them that his fiance was also burnt to crisp.
Of course, that information was confidential. He didn't want anyone to badmouth the princess for something she didn't wish to happen to her. It wasn't Nia's fault that she was almost burnt to death by the Red Phoenix's replica.
"Your Majesty, you should be married before you turn thirty," Duke Nelson, an old gentleman with gray hair and huge dark eyes, told him in a frustrated voice. "What if Her Royal Highness never wakes up again?"
Everyone else fell silent and turned to the foolish duke with a horrified look on their face. Perhaps only Duke Nelson didn't know that saying those careless words would earn his wrath.
He was trying to stay calm despite worrying about Nia's terrible state.
Of course, the thought of losing his beloved already crossed his mind. His healing power wasn't working on the damage caused by the replica after all. But hearing that Nia might not wake up anymore from other people didn't sit well with him.
The ground shook with his anger.
"Princess Nia will wake up," Aku said in a cold voice enough to make his advisors tremble in fear. "So you better watch your words, Duke Nelson."
"My deepest apologies, Your Majesty!" Duke Nelson said while bowing at him. "I am simply worried about the empire's future. The people are talking. They can't be at ease while the emperor has yet to be married. The empire needs an empress, Your Majesty."
The duke just wouldn't shut up, huh?
"The High Priest had already announced my wedding date with Princess Nia," he said. "It's eleven months from now. I'll make sure that the princess would wake up before that day. So if you're thinking of sending women in my palace to be my concubine, or a new batch of candidates to be the empress, you better forget it," he warned while giving cold looks to everyone in the room. "I swear I will murder any and every woman you'd send to seduce me."
He noticed that most of the gentlemen turned their gaze away from him guiltily.
[Ah, so they were really planning to force me to take a concubine.]
He shouldn't be surprised.
It was true that the nobles would want his heir to be a pure Moonchester.
But as an option in case something bad happened to Nia, they had chosen potential concubines from different prestigious lineage. They would rather settle for a "half-breed" heir than have none at all.
[As if I'd accept that.]
It was common for emperors to have concubines but he only wanted Nia.
"Your Majesty, may I know how the investigation is going?" Viscount Hamilton asked. Unlike Duke Nelson, the viscount had proper manners despite being the youngest advisor in the bunch. "There's a rumor that's instilling fear in the public. Apparently, the replica of the Red Phoenix had gone berserk because of the return of Fire Mages."
"That's not true," he denied. The investigation couldn't find a trace that would link the incident to Fire Mages. He had a feeling that it had been covered up. But he wouldn't say that to not cause panic among his people. "The replica woke up aggravated after being locked up in the mystery box for hundreds of years. It attacked the Castle Vania without a specific target. Princess Nia was hurt because she was trying to protect everyone in the castle. And sadly, while protecting the princess, Lahara lost her life."
That was the script that he and Sir Gregory came up with.
He had also sent his condolences to the White Tower before attending that meeting. The mages of the White Tower sent a letter thanking the royal family for taking care of Lahara. According to them, it was an honor for the mage-knight to have served the princess until the last moment of her life.
[It's a relief that the White Tower didn't take it negatively. Perhaps it's because Lahara had already left them to serve Nia directly.]
Now the last thing in his agenda was to address the public about the incident.
"If you have nothing else to say, then this meeting is adjourned," Aku declared before standing up. "Again, Princess Nia will wake up." He made sure to make an eye contact with everyone as he said the following words. "If I have to summon the sky beast to revive my beloved, I would do it in a heartbeat."
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