In his previous life, after Ludmilla’s funeral, Trudy was swept away in a vortex of political strife.
Some tried to use Trudy, and some tried to get rid of Trudy.
Although there was the Emperor’s protection, it was not enough to completely protect the child.
Eventually, a tragedy occurred.
‘Something has happened! His Imperial Highness, Prince Trudy……!’
One day during the dry rainy season, Trudy passed away because of a similar disease to Ludmilla.
There were many doubts, but the investigation was not carried out properly.
Renato knew there was something suspicious about Trudy’s death, but he couldn’t tell anyone.
As always, no one listened to him.
He didn’t even know who to tell that to.
Broken by the successive tragedies, Renato felt a deep sense of helplessness.
A feeling of despair that he couldn’t do anything swallowed him up.
After that, Renato lived just like a breathing corpse.
He could only helplessly watch the Emperor’s death and Maximo’s coronation.
After all, he was a being who couldn’t do anything.
But he would be different this time.
Renato clenched his teeth and grabbed the little hand.
He gave strength to the hand grabbing that small hand as if he would never let go.
“Hic, yes, yes.”
At Renato’s call, Trudy hiccuped and looked up at him.
Renato raised his other hand and wiped the child’s cheek which was damp with tears.
“I’m too shameless to ask this of you, but will you forgive me”
Trudy was confused by Renato’s plea for forgiveness.
He couldn’t figure out why Renato was behaving like this.
But apart from his confused mind, the moment he heard Renato’s words, an unknown sadness flooded over him.
The anxiety and despair he had to endure alone in the past few days soared up.
Trudy inadvertently grabbed Renato’s hem.
“Hyung, hyung-nim won’t leave me, right”
Renato’s eyes shook when hearing the child’s plea.
Not waiting for Renato’s answer, Trudy dug into his arms.
He thought that Renato would leave him behind and walk away if he didn’t do so.
“Please don’t leave me.
Don’t leave me like how mother did…… Ugh, hic.”
Don’t leave me alone, please. As if grabbing a lifeline, the small hand desperately grabbed and clung to Renato’s clothes.
Renato’s eyes became wet with that pitiful gesture.
In the end, he couldn’t resist and embraced the small trembling body.
I will not leave.”
“R, really Hic, really”
“Yes, I promise.
I will always be by your side.”
So let’s stay together. Hearing Renato’s whisper, Trudy’s face severely contorted.
The child couldn’t hold back anymore.
Renato held back his tears as he comforted Trudy who was sobbing as if the entire world was leaving him.
If a miracle had truly happened, if this moment was truly reality, there was only one thing for him to do with his newly acquired life.
Protecting Trudy no matter what.
Yes, I returned to the past for that reason. The pale purple eyes shone resolutely when he finally found the reason for his regression.
His confusion disappeared, and the eyes that had a goal were firm and unwavering.
His bloodshot eyes turned to Ludmilla’s coffin.
“……I’ll protect you.”
“I will protect you, Trudy.”
Definitely, this time. The words came out of his mouth before he could even think.
Renato repeated the words that he would protect the child as if chanting a spell.
It was an oath to Trudy and a promise to himself.
Trudy became tearful with Renato’s words and clutched the hem of his shirt as if never to let go.
Renato also gave strength to the arm that was holding Trudy.
Tears filled his eyes, blurring his vision.
But Renato didn’t cry anymore.
Instead, he swore to Ludmilla in his heart.
He would never repeat the same thing he did in his previous life, and he would be willing to sacrifice his life for that.
* * *
“Ugh, so cold.”
I might freeze to death at this rate. Nasir curled up his body as much as possible to avoid the fierce wind on his skin.
He walked as fast as he could to arrive at his destination, the greenhouse.
“Huu, I’m finally feeling alive.”
Nasir’s expression softened a little when he arrived safely.
The greenhouse, which maintained a suitable temperature all year round, was a completely different world from the strong blizzard raging outside.
Nasir felt his frozen body warm up little by little when he walked inside.
“Where would he be……”
Nasir looked around and murmured.
The purpose of his visit to the greenhouse was to find his boss.
Located at the back of the royal castle, the greenhouse was a place where Khalid, the grand prince as well as the Commander of the Black Wolf Knights, stayed when thinking about something or taking a quiet break. (Eve’s note: The original word used for ‘grand prince’ here is literally ‘a monarch’s younger brother’.
Since there is no equivalent word for it in English and it can get confused with the normal word for ‘prince’, I would make Khalid’s title ‘grand prince’ in this novel.)
“Haiz, let’s ask the gardeners to clean up this place.
Is this a greenhouse or a forest, even”
Nasir groaned as he pushed aside the bushes in front of him.
The trees and flowers in the greenhouse were all different in size and length.
Each time Khalid went on an expedition, he collected the local flowers and trees and randomly filled them into this place.
The greenhouse was only maintained with minimal care, as even a veteran gardener would raise both their hands and feet, not knowing where to start and how to touch this place.
After pushing away the tangled branches and vines, Nasir finally found a way.
As he walked along the path, he soon found a zelkova tree so high that he could not see the end and stopped in that place.
This zelkova tree that seemed to be several hundred years old had existed since the establishment of the kingdom.
Nasir roughly removed the leaves attached to his body, sighed, and took a deep breath.
“Your highness! I know you’re here! So please come out! Her Majesty the Queen has given you a royal command!” (Eve’s note: Again, to lessen the confusion, the courtesy titles of Empire’s Princes like Renato and Trudy would be ‘Your Imperial Highness’, while Khalid’s would be ‘your highness’.)
“Yes! So please come down! This is an order issued by Her Majesty directly to you, your highness.”
As Nasir urged in a loud voice, the leaves shook and a man in light clothes appeared.
Khalid landed down with a gentle movement despite his body frame and got up with a sullen face.
“What can this be It’s the thing that has been bothering you lately, your highness.”
As if Khalid was asking something obvious, Nasir pulled out a letter with the name of the Queen from his chest pocket.
Khalid snatched away the issued order that Nasir was holding out.
“……The Black Wolf Knights Commander, ‘Khalid Nur Hakan’, is appointed as the foreign ambassador and military cooperation advisor to the Fleurette Empire”
“As you can see from the order, your term of office will start next month.”
Khalid burst into laughter when hearing Nasir’s added words.
He had expected this to some extent, but it was much sooner than expected.
“The current diplomatic ambassador’s term of office will only end around half a year later, no”
“It is said that Count Henry is not in good health.”
“That old man is”
Khalid asked with an expression saying he just heard some nonsensical thing.
Hearing his words, Nasir shrugged his shoulders and opened his mouth.
“I’m not sure.
No one knows if he is really sick or not.
By the way, what do you mean by ‘old man’ Please say nice words.
What if someone heard it”
“You are saying that again.
Did the Empire agree with this”
“Since it was your highness who was appointed as the ambassador, wouldn’t that side welcome you with open arms Also, Count Henry already expressed his will to resign, so they requested that the new diplomatic ambassador to the Empire should be able to begin military action as soon as possible.
They hoped that the size of the Knights Order staying in the capital would be larger than it is right now.”
“So they openly requested the army of another country…… What if we change our minds and take over the Imperial Palace I don’t know if they have no sense of crisis, or just that they are stupid.”
“Doesn’t it just show how bad things are at their place According to the report of the informants, the Emperor’s condition appears to be unusual.
The Imperial Consort has also recently passed away.”
“Imperial Consort Ah, the mother of the 2nd Prince who was rumored to become the Crown Prince in the future”
Hearing Nasir’s words, Khalid traced his memory.
The Emperors of the Fleurette Empire were allowed to have another companion besides the Empresses for the sake of passing down their noble blood.
The Empire recognized the Emperor’s second companion as an Imperial Consort, and their children were also recognized as direct imperial family members.
Because the 1st Prince whom the Empress gave birth to is a Beta, his right to inherit the throne is not recognized, so in the current situation, the 2nd Prince is the closest to the next throne.”
“However, the Imperial Consort didn’t have much support back when she was alive, while the Prince himself is also too young, so we don’t know what will happen yet.”
“Officially having a second companion, and passing the throne to their children…… I always knew this, but that place is a very strange country.”
Khalid muttered in curiosity.
Unlike the Fleurette Empire, the Khan Kingdom did not recognize illegitimate children except under special circumstances.
Growing up in a kingdom where paramour and illegitimate children were treated as criminals and despised, the imperial family that officially recognized a second companion and their children felt very foreign to him.
“Isn’t it because the imperial family descendants there are so precious The blood flowing through their bodies is also special.”
“Why do people there discriminate based on traits while respecting bloodlines so much” (Eve’s note: ‘Trait’ in this novel would be referring to A/B/O characteristics.)
“There are rumors that the Beta imperial family members are inferior in many aspects compared to the Alpha and Omega imperial family members, but no one knows the truth.
And having a second companion is not common in the Empire as it is a system specifically permitted only to the imperial family and the nobles who have inherited the blood of the imperial family.”
“It’s still a problem.”
“Each country has different customs and traditions, well.
In terms of flaws, our country is not without problems, right Right now, there is still a group of disrespectful people who fuss over Her Majesty’s gender, no”
Khalid smiled bitterly when hearing Nasir’s words.
Although it had been three years since Maryam ascended to the throne, there were still many dissatisfied nobles within the kingdom.
Among them, Duke Vint, a collateral royal family member, led the noble faction and tried to obstruct Maryam in everything she did.
“I should have just killed them all no matter what noonim said back then.
We showed mercy for no reason at all.”
Khalid, thinking of Duke Vint, gritted his teeth.
It was obvious that the one intervening in the appointment of the new foreign ambassador to the Fleurette Empire and putting pressure to send him to the Empire was that man.