Mommy Villainess Chapter 94
94 Sovereign Monarch
"IF THE land of Oakes became an independent state, then His Majesty and the empire would no longer have any authority or control over us," Tilly said, carefully absorbing her husband's suggestion. "Oakes will become a Grand Duchy. Of course, we will be the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess."
Kiho nodded. "Yes, we will become a sovereign monarch."
"It won't be easy," she said worriedly. "His Majesty would definitely not allow our duchy to become an independent state. We will certainly have to fight for our independence. Since we've already waged a war on His Majesty, making it official wouldn't make a difference. But"
Of course, going on a war against the empire had its pros and cons.
"What is it, honey?"
"The Prescott Knights are relatively smaller in number compared to His Majesty's army," she said. "When we waged war on His Majesty, I wasn't that worried because I know that he wouldn't use his army since he doesn't want to reveal to the public that I'm the heart. But if the war becomes official, I'm sure that he'd summon every troop under his command. Wouldn't we be in a disadvantage?"
"That would definitely be the case."
"I don't like wars," she confessed while shaking her head. "Because whenever a war broke in, the most affected by the conflict would always be the poor. Oakes is a rich land. But our governance isn't perfect. There are still poor people that I don't want to suffer once we go on a war against the empire."
"Your concern is valid, Tilly," Kiho said gently, then he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "But whether we 'officially' go to war or not, His Majesty will still oppress us. He will go after your heart after a year. But he knows that he has to go through me first before he gets to you. To do that, he'd bring me down as the Duke of Oakes and invade our territory."
Her eyes widened in shock because she didn't see that coming from her perspective. "You mean His Majesty will destroy you as a duke and claim our territory?"
He nodded firmly. "I've been sent to war by His Majesty several times. He loves destroying his enemies' territories first. I've seen him take another kingdom's royal family and force them to watch their people die one by one. He acts like a child to his allies. But he's a merciless tyrant in front of his enemies. You haven't seen that side of the emperor, have you?"
She shook her head. "I thought His Majesty was a generous emperor."
"Honey, no one is right or wrong in a war," he gently told her. "There's only the strong and the weak. The victor in a war isn't good they just happen to be stronger than the enemies."
Ah, this was the wisdom of a man who had been to war many times.
Kiho wasn't being calloused. He was just trying to teach her the realities of war. She had never been directly affected by war because her affluent upbringing had always sheltered her.
But now, she had to lead a war with her husband.
"Tilly, please don't get me wrong," Kiho said gently. "I'm not promoting war. I would void it if I could. But our enemy isn't just anyone it's His Majesty. We should be as prepared as possible before he makes his move."
"I understand, hon," she said. "What should we need to improve our family's military power? I think our combined our fortune would be enough to equip our knights with the best tool and weapons to protect them in a battle."
"Yes, we need good weapons," he agreed. "If you and Lord Prescott would allow me, I'd like to personally train the knights at Oakes."
"Of course, we'd be glad and honored to have you as the family knights' instructor, hon," she said. "Thank you, Kiho."
"No need to thank me, honey. I'm just doing my job as the new duke."
She smiled at that. "I'm more at ease now."
He caressed her face lovingly. "Tilly, we need more allies. The Black Serpent Knights will surely take our side. But we need more."
"I believe we can rely on the Denvers and the Fire Mages under their protection."
He nodded in agreement. "I'm also thinking about letting Captain Sherwood join us."
Come to think, she remembered seeing Captain Sherwood in the temple. But on their way back to the mansion, the captain politely greeted them goodbye and said he needed to return to the Royal Capital. She thought Captain Sherwood just happened to be at the area when the "earthquake" happened.
She was too tired to think and to be honest, she didn't care that much about the captain so she never thought hard about why he was there a while ago.
"Tilly, Captain Sherwood came here to pledge his loyalty to me."
Her eyes widened in shock. "What?"
"I don't know what happened to him," her husband said, obviously distressed. "But he came here to tell me that he already betrayed Her Royal Highness. And now, he said he's willing to betray His Majesty for me."
"Did he say why?"
His cheeks suddenly turned red.
"What is it?" she asked suspiciously. "Are you hiding something from me, hon?"
Kiho turned his gaze away from her, his ears now as red as his face. "Captain Sherwood confessed his r-romantic f-feelings for me."
Wow, the great duke stuttered.
And he sounded really awkward.
But that's quite a surprise. I didn't know that Captain Sherwood preferred men. Though come to think of it, in my first life, he was single. I don't know if he got married after I died. But the fact that a debonair bachelor like him remained single for that long is kind of suspicious.
"Tilly, aren't you surprised?" Kiho asked her when he turned to her. "You're not upset?"
"I'm surprised but I'm not upset," she said. "I mean, I understand what Captain Sherwood feels. Who wouldn't fall for you, hon? Kiho, you're a six feet of pure male hotness. Your face is a natural treasure. You're very strong. You're a gentleman but your brusque side is also attractive. You're kind but not a pushover. And you can also be so nave sometimes something I find really cute."
This time, his whole face and his neck were as red as an apple. But he looked happy while she was showering him with praises.
So she decided to tease him further.
"Most of all, you have a god-tier body," she said in a seductive voice while running her hands across his wide expanse of chest. "And you're very good in bed."
His yellow eyes glowed in a beautiful golden light. Gosh, her husband was hungry for her again. He was about to carry her to bed but she stopped him.
Gosh, we're not even done talking about Captain Sherwood.
"Wait," she said between giggles. "We still have something to talk about, hon."
He gently bit her earlobe before he spoke. "Hmm?"
She cupped his face to get his full attention. "Kiho, if we're letting Captain Sherwood join our side, why don't we let the High Priest become our ally as well?"
"No," Kiho growled lowly. But of course, his anger wasn't directed at her. "He tried to kill you, Tilly."
"No, he didn't," Tilly said while cupping his face between her hands. "The High Priest worships our son, Kiho."
And that was enough to calm him down.
Okay, let's try to convince him again.
"SO, HOW did your confession go?" Aku asked Captain Sherwood. He was sitting on the railing of his room's balcony while having red wine. The captain, on the other hand, was standing in front of his palace while looking up at him literally. It was already late at night but he knew that Captain Sherwood would still visit his palace. After all, he left his post without his permission. "Was it worth it?"
"I was rejected right away, Your Majesty," Captain Sherwood answered with a grin. "But it's okay. I like the pain of a one-sided love."
"A masochist, I see."
"It takes one to know one," the captain said while laughing softly. "Right, Your Majesty?"
He grinned, then raised his right hand and moved it as if he was scratching something in the air. And the result?
Three huge, deep, and long claw marks had marked Captain Sherwood's chest.
The captain looked surprised because he easily broke his armor and the defensive spell on him. Now, Captain Sherwood's chest was bleeding profusely. He also looked like he was in pain.
"That's your brand, Captain Sherwood," he said. "The brand of a traitor."
Captain Sherwood laughed. "I accept it, Your Majesty," he said. Then, he bowed to him. "However, please keep in mind that House Sherwood will remain as the empire's Bookkeeper."
After that, the captain left.
Another one of my captains turned his back on me again.
"Is it okay to let Captain Sherwood leave the palace alive, Your Majesty?"
Aku turned to Sir Gregory who appeared beside him after Captain Sherwood left. "If I kill him now, House Sherwood will retaliate. They're one of the oldest families in the empire so I can't just eliminate them. And I need him to stay close to Kiho to serve as his guardian. I don't plan to kill Kiho and his child. I'll take them back as soon as Lady Nystrom is gone."
"Your Majesty, I understand that you're close to Duke Nystrom," Sir Gregory said carefully. "But is it really wise to still keep him by your side even after he betrayed you for a woman?"
"Kiho is my brother," Aku said firmly. "I don't want to lose him."
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