Mommy Villainess Chapter 65
65 Heartbreaking Confession
TILLY decided to take a detour before going home.
She suddenly thought of visiting their coachman who just got out of hospital. Yes, the one that was driving the carriage when she was ambushed. Fortunately, the coachman was recovering well now. Thanks to Captain Denver's memory manipulation, his memory matched the statement that she gave about the accident.
As compensation, she paid the hospital bill. Also, she gave the family a huge amount of money for them to use while the coachman couldn't return to work yet. But she didn't want them to think that they could only offer compensation to them.
To other people, it was just a simple accident.
But she knew the truth. The coachman was hurt because she was ambushed. Naturally, she would feel guilty about it.
So here she was now at the coachman's house while having early dinner with the family. She brought a lot of meat. For their three children (all boys and aged five, seven, and nine), she brought sweets and pastries, as well as toys and clothes.
[I really like children.]
"Lady Prescott, thank you for looking after our family," Bert, the forty year old coachman, said with a smile. The coachman and his wife Carla insisted to send her off. "I'll return to work as soon as I can. I want to be of use to you and Sir Kiho again, my lady."
"Don't worry about it, Bert," Tilly said with a smile. "Just focus on your recovery."
"We don't deserve your kindness, Lady Prescott," Carla said, almost in tears. "Please allow us to serve your family forever."
"We are always grateful for your service," Tilly said to the old couple. "Kiho and I are lucky to have you in our family."
After bidding goodbye to the family, Damian escorted her to the carriage.
While walking, she could feel eyes on her. It was as if someone was watching her closely. Of course, she got afraid. But she didn't let it show.
[Did His Majesty already make his move?]
To be honest, she didn't expect that.
She thought the emperor was the "chill" type. Was it His Majesty's "style" to be this aggressive? For some reason, she couldn't believe it.
[It's also possible that someone else is after me.]
"Damian, tell the coachman to use the long way back home," Tilly said to the young knight. "And as much as possible, avoid the route with less people."
Usually, their coachman would take a short cut so they could go home faster. But those short cuts were usually remote. But the long routes were safer because the roads were usually filled with people and other carriages.
If there were a lot of witnesses that the assailants couldn't simply kill, then the probability of being ambushed on her way home would be reduced.
Tilly turned to Damian. "And stay with me inside the carriage."
Damian bowed to her. "As you wish, my lady."
KIHO was relieved when he finished all his paper works a few minutes before the end of his working hours. He didn't have to work overtime and he could go home early Also, he had time to prepare for his date with Tilly.
[I can only think of one place where we can be alone but it's kind of dangerous.]
Well, he'd be with her wife anyway. He just had to make sure that his wife and their baby in her womb wouldn't get hurt in that place. Despite the risk, he was still excited to bring Tilly there because it was his "secret base" in the empire.
[I bet not even the emperor knows that a place like that exists.]
To say that Kiho was surprised when Emperor Aku appeared in his humble office would be an understatement. God, his men guarding outside must have been shocked when they saw the emperor. Well, that was if they caught a glimpse of him anyway.
[Maybe not. His Majesty is good at hiding his presence.]
"Your Majesty, with all due respect, I can't work overtime tonight," Kiho said in a flat voice. "If you have work for me, I'll just do it tomorrow."
"I'm not here to make you work overtime," Emperor Aku denied with a pout. Then, he sat on the sofa in the lounging area of his office. "I'm just here to hang out with you for the last time."
""Last time?"" he asked in confusion. "Are you saying that it's okay if I don't return to my post after a year?"
"Of course not," the emperor denied. "What I mean is this is the last time we'd get to hang out before your year long vacation."
"Why do you look so disappointed?" His Majesty complained. "Do you really want to quit as a captain that much?"
He didn't answer. Instead, he just went to the mini pantry of his office. He hated being served so he built a pantry inside his office so he could make coffee for himself. Thankfully, Blake put some tea in his stash to serve his guests. "I'll make some tea for you, Your Majesty."
"I only have cheap tea here so don't complain."
Well, not really cheap. It was the same brand that average nobles consume. But of course, compared to what royals drink, it could still be considered cheap.
The emperor just laughed it off. "I won't, I won't. I like trying what commoners eat and drink sometimes."
After making tea, he served it to the emperor and joined him in the lounging area. He sat on the sofa across His Majesty.
"Hmm," Emperor Aku said after having a sip of the tea. "It tastes okay."
"You don't have to force yourself to drink it if you don't like the taste, Your Majesty."
"I said it tastes okay," he whined, pouting like a child. "Why are you always harsh to me, Kiho?"
"Your Majesty, if you have anything to say, please say it now," he said with a straight face. "I have a date with my wife."
"I'm hurt, Kiho," Emperor Aku complained again. "Tell me. If Lady Prescott and I were both drowning, who would you save first?"
"You didn't even stop to think about it," the emperor whined. Again. "Kiho, you vowed loyalty to the throne. Choosing your wife over me could be considered treason."
He tilted his head to one side in confusion. "Why though? I'm sure you're capable of saving yourself, Your Majesty. Wait, can you even drown?"
He laughed at his question. "Kiho, even though you quit as a captain, you're still a knight of the Great Moonchester Empire. It's your responsibility to prioritize me above anything or anyone else in the empire."
"I vowed my loyalty to the throne," he said carefully. "The throne is the symbol of power and authority in the empire. I believe that the power and authority granted to whoever is sitting on the throne is for the sake of the citizens. As a knight, it's my duty to keep an eye on the emperor and make sure that he doesn't abuse the power given to him. I am not obliged to follow you blindly, Your Majesty. I'm a knight of the empire not your personal puppet."
"Hmph," the emperor said, acting like a child throwing tantrums. "You talk big for someone who's dubbed as my "shadow beast.""
The "shadow beast" term was a euphemism for "assassin."
It was true that he had done a lot of dirty work for the emperor.
"Don't get mistaken, Your Majesty," Kiho said carefully. "The only reason I haven't said 'no' to your assassination requests is because I judged that killing off the people in your list would benefit our empire. But if I have to reject a mission from you, I will. I don't care if you punish me. I'll stand by what I believe is right."
"You're breaking my heart, Kiho," the emperor said with a bitter smile. "What you said wasn't wrong. Knights vow their loyalty to the throne and not on the person sitting on it. But I thought you'd choose my side whatever happens because of our bond."
"We've met when I was only eight years old," he said. During that time, he didn't know that he was the empire's crown prince. "You appear and disappear from time to time. But each time you show up, you would always give me food and new clothes. I don't want to admit this but you're a father figure to me."
"Hey, I'm not that old," His Majesty complained lightly. ""Big brother." Say that I'm like a big brother to you instead of father figure."
"Same difference," he said, refusing to call him "big brother" again. "Anyway, when I was thirteen, you brought me to the Royal Capital. Despite the higher nobles' firm refusal, you still gave me the title of a knight just after a year of training. And after two years, you asked me to kill the previous captain of the Black Serpent Knights."
The emperor asked him to kill Sir Horan because of his corruption. He used his position as a captain and made his men run his illegal "business." Sir Horan sold information about Emperor Aku and the other captains to anyone who had money to pay for it.
He killed Sir Horan but his corruption was swept under the rug. The emperor's advisors didn't want the public to know that Sir Horan was a traitor because they didn't want other people to know and copy the previous captain's "business."
And so, he became the scape goat. The public thought he killed Sir Horan just to steal his position as the captain.
[Ah, right. His Majesty made me the captain of Black Serpent Knights after that.]
The emperor also made him recruit his own members because all the knights under Sir Horan's previous squad were locked up in Arabella the worst prison in the empire.
He recruited the mercenaries he worked with as the new members of Black Serpent Knights. The nobles weren't too happy that people from questionable background were appointed as knights but they couldn't do anything about it. After all, he was backed up by the emperor.
"It's true that you helped me to be where I am right now, Your Majesty," Kiho continued. "But that doesn't mean that I will turn a blind eye if I believe that you're abusing your power. You don't have to worry about that though. So far, you're a good emperor that this empire needs to prosper even more."
Emperor Aku smiled. He didn't know if it was just him or that smile looked really sad. "Kiho, I'm glad that I brought you to the Royal Capital," he said in a melancholic tone. "I hope I don't regret it someday."
FOR tonight's date, Tilly wore an equestrienne outfit.
She chose to wear trousers because according to Kiho, they'd ride a horse to get where they needed to be.
"How do I look, Kiho?" Tilly asked while spinning around in front of him. Lani and Leni also braided her hair so it wouldn't be blown by the wind. "Do I look good?"
"Yes," Kiho, who was sitting on the edge of their bed, answered while checking her out. "It looks good on you."
She sat on his lap sideways and he secured her position by wrapping his arms around her waist. "Really? You always say that I look good whatever I wear. You're not just saying that, are you?"
"I'm not lying," he said. "But I prefer it when you're naked."
God, she blushed at that.
"But of course, that's only for my eyes," Kiho said. "So I'm fine whatever you wear in public. I'll always respect your choice."
She laughed at his duality. One second he was saying hot stuff that could turn her on. Then the next, he was back to his usual adorable side. "Kiho, did you choose a place that has a bed?"
He let out a little gasp as if he realized a mistake. "Oh. I should have chosen a hotel instead."
"I'm just kidding," she said between giggles. "But when are you taking me for our date tonight, hon?"
She blinked in surprise. "A what?"
"A cave," he said. "For snakes."
She tilted her head to one side. "That's a unique date spot. It sounds dangerous but I trust you, Kiho."
"Thank you," he said. "Don't worry, Tilly. The snakes won't attack us. They listen to me."
Tilly's forehead knotted in confusion. "The snakes listen to you?"
"Uh-huh," Kiho confirmed while nodding his head. "I don't know why but ever since I was a kid, I've always had an affinity with snakes."
Now that was a strange but cool ability.
THE CAVE Kiho told Tilly was actually at the furthest area of Forest of Enryu.
He had to use a secret passage to get there because he didn't ask for Castle Vania's permission to enter the forest. It was wrong but getting permission from the castle would take at least a day before it gets approved. He didn't time for that.
After all, before he went home, he secretly killed the remaining Crades in the area to make sure it would be safe for Tilly to be there.
But now, another problem came up.
[We're being followed.]
He could tell that whoever was following them was very skilled. That person had almost erased their presence. If it wasn't for Kiho's keen senses, he wouldn't notice that they were being followed in the first place.
[I have to deal with it.]
"Tilly, I'll put you in an ice cage," Kiho whispered in a hurry. "It's going to be a little cold but please bear it for a while. Your body is warmer than average so you're not going to freeze. I promise to end it quick before you get cold."
"Kiho, wait," Tilly said in confusion. "Why would you put me in an ice cage?"
"It's for your protection," he said. "We're currently being followed."
She gasped at that. "What"
He didn't have to explain anymore because the person tailing them was closing in on them.
So he stopped the horse and got down with Tilly in his arms. Then, without further ado, he knelt down on one knee and raised his hand. As soon as he did, a huge ice cylinder sprouted from the ground. It encircled Tilly and the horse. The ice cage didn't have a "roof" but he made it as high as the tallest tree to make sure that his wife wouldn't be attacked from above.
"Kiho," Tilly whispered. "Be careful."
"Yes," he said. "I'll be back in a jiffy."
Without moving from where he stood, he raised both his hands and pointed them at one direction. Hundreds of solid and sharp ice daggers shot from his palms in a fast way.
No wonder it hit the target who fell immediately on the ground.
"Captain Denver?" Kiho asked in shock when the person's hood fell off. "What are you doing here?"
"Captain Denver?" Tilly asked in surprise. "Is it really Captain Denver?"
He was about to answer but the other captain beat him to it.
"Yes, it's me, Lady Prescott," Captain Denver said while he was pulling out the ice daggers in his shoulder and stomach. He was bleeding a lot. "Damn you, Kiho. You didn't hold back."
"What are you doing here, Captain Denver?" Kiho hissed. "Why are you following us?"
"I just want to make sure that Lady Prescott is safe."
That was enough for him to snap.
[Captain Denver likes Tilly.]
And so, he had to eliminate the other captain.
"I already warned you several times but you still didn't listen," Kiho said menacingly. "I'll f*cking kill you now, Captain Denver."
Without anymore warning, he threw another set of ice daggers at his direction. This time, the daggers were bigger and sharper. Each one would be enough to kill a giant Crades with just one hit.
"Kiho!" Captain Denver said. He had his arms raised and the flame from his armbands was melting some of his ice daggers. But most of it still hit him. In just a few seconds, the other captain already looked like a dart board. And he was coughing blood. "Let me explain, dammit!"
"No," Kiho said while pulling out the sword from the sheath attached to his hip.
He would strike the final blow with his sword. He wouldn't be satisfied until he stabbed the other captain's heart with his very own hand.
"Kiho!" Tilly yelled. "Don't kill Captain Denver!"
"Tilly, I understand that you're only protecting Captain Denver out of the goodness of your heart," Kiho said coldly. "But your concern for him makes me want to kill him even more."
"He likes you, Tilly," he hissed. "And he's being so persistent about it."
"It's not like that!" Tilly screamed in a frustrated manner. "Captain Denver just wants to protect me because we're the same!"
That already caught him off-guard.
But what happened next shocked him: the giant ice cage he created started to melt.
Tilly's hands that were pressed on the wall of the ice cage were the ones that were causing it to melt and her hands were engulfed in a red flame.
Not even Fire Wielders could produce fire within their body.
"It can't be," Kiho said in disbelief, his heart thumping hard and loud against his chest. He never really sweats because of his cool temperature. But this time, he broke out into cold sweats. "Tilly, please tell me what I'm thinking right now is wrong."
"No," Tilly whispered, the heartbroken look on her face made his chest tighten even more. "Kiho, I am a Fire Mage."
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