“Why don’t you greet me, huh”
Renato, whose shoulders stiffened because of Maximo’s low voice, barely moved his lips.
“Long, time no see, Maximo.”
“It’s so hard to force a greeting out of you, huh Well, it seems like you finally greeted me.
Yes, long time no see.”
Renato looked at Maximo, who was smirking while standing in a slanted posture, and strongly bit the inside of his mouth.
He might scream if he didn’t do so.
“I heard that you have an appointment with His Majesty the Empress today.
They are waiting for you now.”
“Ah, that’s right.
I have to take on a troublesome task this time.”
I was told that I had to become a special protocol officer and befriend the new diplomatic ambassador from the Khan Kingdom Tsk.”
Maximo clicked his tongue and ruffled his hair with an annoyed expression.
Because of that, he didn’t see Renato widening his eyes because of his answer.
The new diplomatic ambassador.
With those words, Renato’s mind became sharp as if he was drenched by water.
The diplomatic ambassador coming from the Khan Kingdom at this time was definitely ‘that person’.
When he was in despair after losing Trudy in his previous life, that person was the one that approached him first and reached out to him……
‘Can I help you’
When he thought of that person, his heart beat because of a different feeling compared to before.
The voice with a deep resonance rang in his ears.
The rough hand that carefully reached out to him glimmered in Renato’s vision.
‘If you need my help, I will help you as much as I can.’
Can we meet again Me and that person Renato inadvertently fumbled around his left chest pocket.
It was the place of a watch that he always carried just like a part of his body until he died.
“It’s troublesome, but I have to do it anyway.
Now that I have to start my political activities in earnest…… Hmm What’s wrong with you Do you feel unwell anywhere”
Maximo narrowed his eyebrows and spoke when Renato suddenly grabbed his chest.
“Now that I look again, your complexion seems a bit bad……”
Maximo frowned, raising his hand with an uncharacteristically worried expression.
However, his hand reaching out toward Renato did not reach its intended destination.
Out of fright, Renato slapped Maximo’s hand.
After that sharp sound, only silence followed.
Maximo looked at Renato and his hand in confusion.
He couldn’t understand what had happened to him.
Renato was even more flustered than Maximo.
Realizing what he had done, he backed away with a pale face.
I was surprised……”
Renato hastily apologized to Maximo.
He didn’t even understand why he had behaved like that.
The moment Maximo’s hand came into his vision, his body moved first before he could think.
Perhaps it was because of his memories of his previous life.
Renato easily assessed his condition.
He was afraid of both Blanche and Marquis Medus, but Maximo was a little different from them.
In his previous life, Maximo constantly tormented Renato and eventually took his life.
When he recalled that time, goosebumps crept across his entire body.
Renato pursed his lips when he felt something hot crawling up his throat.
His stomach suddenly churned, and the area around his left waist felt like it was on fire.
It was the place where he was stabbed by Maximo’s sword in his previous life.
‘What’s your relationship with that goddamn bastard Just what, that punk…… Fuck! You just pretended to be docile, how dare you!’
‘Pathetic useless trash that didn’t know your own place.
Do you think you could have lived until now if it wasn’t for me You didn’t even feel grateful that I saved you, and were having that kind of affair behind my back’
‘Just when Since when have you had that kind of relationship with that bastard You didn’t Do you really think I will believe that’
‘You can’t leave the Imperial Palace until you die.
I will have you stay next to me and draw out your blood for the rest of your life!’
The face of Maximo, who was furious with him just before his death, and the current Maximo who was looking at him with a shocked expression superimposed.
Even all the words that he poured out in his rage also rushed into Renato’s mind.
Then, the memories of the one-sided violence and the fear engraved in his bones revived, making his mind return to that day.
His breathing was getting harder, and his head was spinning.
Renato shuddered and widened his distance from Maximo.
He felt as if that man was going to strangle him and kick him at any moment.
To Renato, Maximo was someone who would use violence against him at any time.
Now that he was weaker than the Empress and Marquis Medus, that man was showing his manners and suppressing his temper, but Renato knew his true nature better than anyone else.
So he was scared.
“I’m not feeling well, so I will, have to go now.”
After speaking, Renato turned around as if running away.
No, he was indeed running away.
He heard Maximo calling him from behind but ignored it.
As soon as the man’s voice reached his ear, the nape of his neck became tense and his hands and feet became cold.
“Your Imperial Highness”
As Renato ran to the carriage, Louis greeted him with a surprised expression.
Renato entered the carriage, unable to even answer.
Otherwise, he felt as if Maximo would chase after him and stab the sword into his stomach again.
Having entered the carriage, Renato exhaled heavily and sat down on the floor.
Louis also hastily followed to support him.
Then he locked the carriage door firmly so that no one else could see inside.
“Are you okay Just what happened……”
“Lou, Louis, ugh! Huff!”
Renato was about to say something to Louis, but then covered his mouth with one hand and retched.
Perhaps because his tension was relieved, the urge to vomit that he had forgotten while running rushed in.
“Your Imperial Highness!”
Louis raised his voice when he saw Renato’s upper body leaning forward. Cough, after retching a few more times, Renato coughed.
The inside of his neck felt as if burning.
It hurts, it hurts so much.
Renato wrapped his trembling hand around the region between his belly button and waist.
It was more painful than before.
The pain as if his body was on fire or was pierced by a sharp object made him let out a groan.
“Please wait, wait a minute.
I’ll call, the doctor……”
Noticing that Renato’s condition was unusual, Louis became restless and helped him lean on the chair.
Then he turned his head to call someone.
At that moment, Renato stopped him with a faint voice.
Just, get going……”
“How can I do that, do you know what your face looks like now, Your Imperial Highness”
“If you call a doctor, to this place, the Marquis will come.
Huu, quickly, please……”
Renato grabbed Louis’ hem and told him to get going.
It was more of a plea than a command.
Louis looked at Renato, whose body was shaking as if in pain, and bit his lower lip.
“Please go back to the palace! Hurry!”
His agony was brief.
Knowing what Renato was worried about, Louis decided to follow him.
When Louis shouted, the carriage quickly moved.
“Please lean on me, Your Imperial Highness.”
Louis changed Renato’s posture to make him feel comfortable and helped him lean on his body.
Then, with his hand, he rubbed Renato’s arm.
Entrusting himself to Louis, Renato took a deep breath.
His stomach was boiling to the extent that he thought his intestines might melt.
Perhaps that was why he couldn’t breathe.
Renato, whose body was drenched in sweat, closed his eyes with a tired expression.
He had to keep himself conscious, but his vision kept getting blurry, making it hard to keep his eyes open.
As the world around him darkened, a fever rose and tinnitus screamed in his heated ears.
Renato felt the corners of his eyes getting wet, and covered his burning eyes with the back of his hand.
The world he returned to was still a terrible hell.
* * *
“Welcome, Your Imperial Highness.”
“It’s been a while, chamberlain.”
Renato smiled softly when chamberlain Caleb warmly welcomed him.
Caleb was one of the few people in the Imperial Palace who was kind to Renato.
And he disappeared without a trace when Maximo became Emperor in his previous life.
As it turned out later, Caleb was the guardian of the recipe for the imperial elixir, ‘Fairy’s Tears’.
Those who found out guessed that he disappeared because he didn’t recognize Maximo as Emperor.
When Maximo found out that Caleb was the guardian later on, he was enraged.
In a situation where his legitimacy was questioned because he did not receive the Fairy King’s blessing and even the recipe for the Fairy’s Tears disappeared, his position was greatly shaken.
It was one of the events that triggered Maximo’s obsession with Renato.
It was not as effective as Fairy’s Tears, but Renato’s blood was needed to make the special remedy invented by Marquis Medus.
“Please come on in, His Majesty the Emperor is waiting for you.”
The chamberlain softly smiled, stepped aside, and beckoned to the gatekeeper.
Looking at the slowly opening door, Renato took in a deep breath before exhaling again.
He was always nervous during their weekly meetings, but today, he was particularly anxious.
Because, unlike usual, he had a purpose today.