“Welcome, your highness.”
Renato, who was guarding the balcony alone, welcomed Khalid when he entered with Louis’ guidance.
Seeing Renato whose complexion had turned pale again in the chilly night air, Khalid took off his jacket.
“Please wear it.”
Renato’s eyes widened as he reflexively took the jacket.
Looking at Renato stiffened in surprise, Khalid let out a small sigh and took his jacket back.
Then, he wrapped it around Renato’s shoulders.
“I think you are cold.”
“Uhm, you don’t have to be so considerate.
I was the one asking for a conversation……”
Renato was restless when the warm jacket wrapped around his shoulders.
Khalid became frustrated when he saw how Renato was at a loss with just a little kindness.
He let out a small sigh and firmly adjusted the jacket’s collar.
“I’m used to the cold, so I’m alright.
The Empire’s winter is also warm for me.”
After finishing his words, Khalid took a step back and looked around.
Fortunately, he could feel no people nearby.
“There seems to be no one on the balcony.”
“It’s probably because it’s winter……”
Renato fiddled with Khalid’s jacket with an awkward expression, then muttered.
The banquet hall’s balcony was one of the places where nobles enjoyed secret meetings, but it was an exception in the cold winter.
Renato had originally planned to go to the lounge that only the imperial family could use.
It was a good place to have a quiet conversation with Khalid, as it was a place where only the imperial family and those with permission were allowed to enter.
Blanche had returned to the Empress’ Palace, so there was no one to disturb him.
However, due to Maximo’s unexpected appearance, he had to change the location.
Maximo was one of the people who could freely come and go from the imperial lounge with the Empress’ permission.
Considering what happened a while ago, he felt he should be more careful.
“So what did you plan to talk about”
Khalid slightly leaned against the railing of the balcony and went straight to the point.
Whatever Renato was planning to talk about, it would definitely be an uncomfortable talk, so he wanted to end the conversation quickly and return.
Renato couldn’t answer right away and gulped.
He had prepared for this from the moment he decided to get Khalid into his plans.
How to bring this up, what words he would use to persuade, and what price to offer.
He had pondered over this for days, paid attention to every word, and practiced the lines dozens of times.
Just a few minutes ago, while waiting for Khalid to arrive, he completed the final check.
But when the time to actually speak to Khalid came, his head became as white as a blank sheet of paper, and his lips couldn’t move as if frozen.
Is it right to say this now
Renato, unable to make a decision, hesitated.
He didn’t intend to bring this up in such a hurry.
He originally intended to make a cautious suggestion to Khalid once he got to know him better and they became closer.
But because of Maximo, he felt the need to rush.
What are you scheming What are you thinking with that little head’
Maximo was aware of Renato’s changes that Blanche and Marquis Medus had not noticed.
The man didn’t know the exact situation, but he seemed to feel something strange.
Renato felt a deep sense of crisis.
Since Maximo had raised his suspicions, Renato did not know when the man would interfere in this.
What if Maximo said to Blanche and Marquis Medus that he suspected Renato There was a high possibility that things would go awry.
If he made a mistake, he perhaps would have to resign from his position as the protocol officer tomorrow.
It wouldn’t be easy to meet Khalid then, so Renato nervously bit his lower lip with his upper teeth.
He had to say it now.
“Your Imperial Highness”
Khalid called Renato with a puzzled look on his face when Renato’s expression became worse.
Renato’s face lit up in the dazzling moonlight looked as pale as a corpse, making him suddenly feel anxious.
“Are you perhaps feeling sick anywhere……”
“Your highness, grand prince Khalid.”
Finally making up his mind, Renato interrupted Khalid’s words and met his gaze.
When Renato’s momentum changed, Khalid quietly closed his mouth and waited for his next words.
“To Khalid Nur Hakan, the grand prince of the Khan Kingdom and Commander of the Black Wolf Knights……”
The breath resembling frost scattered in the air, and a soft, trembling voice echoed from his small lips.
Renato grabbed the hem of his clothes so tightly that the jacket wrapped around him was also crumpled.
“Renato El Fleurette, Prince of the Fleurette Empire and descendant of the Fairy King, asks with all my heart.”
Renato raised his head and said out loud the words he had prepared for a long time.
Contrary to the still trembling voice, the eyes reminiscent of violets did not waver.
“Please marry me.”
What did he just say Khalid’s eyes widened when hearing the unexpected proposal.
His mouth opened as wide as his enlarged eyes.
A shock as if someone had hit the back of his head with a scabbard struck him.
“Please wait a minute.
So, uhm, if I’m not hearing it wrong, did you just propose to me”
Khalid, immensely bewildered, asked back because he could not believe what he had heard.
It was an absurd thing to say.
They had only met twice, but he suddenly received a marriage proposal out of the blue
It was something beyond Khalid’s understanding capacity.
He felt a strong headache rushing in.
He didn’t drink much, but his head was dizzy as if he was drunk.
Thinking that it couldn’t be true, Khalid wished that Renato would deny the proposal just now.
Then he could dismiss it as something he had heard wrong and move on.
However, Renato did not listen to Khalid’s wish.
Rather, he calmly added an explanation and confirmed the kill.
To be precise, I want to make a contract with you through marriage, your highness.”
“A contract Do you want to make a deal with me”
“What you think is right.
Three years, please be my companion for just that time.
I will pay the price without regret.”
The more he listened, the more absurd it was.
Khalid laughed in astonishment.
His previous surprise had vanished and obvious anger appeared on his face.
He had guessed it wasn’t a simple matter, but he never dreamed that Renato would propose a contract marriage.
Khalid asked without hiding his disappointed expression.
He felt pity for himself who had felt sorry for Renato until a while ago.
“Because you are the right person, your highness.”
Renato answered with a confident attitude.
Seeing Renato’s attitude that seemed as though he was waiting for that question, Khalid became even more confused.
He couldn’t figure out why Renato was so sure.
“Do you think you know me well”
“……It’s not that I don’t know at all.
I’m sure that I know at least enough to propose to you, your highness.”
“I know we met for the first time the day before yesterday.
Isn’t it too short of a time to say that you know me”
“Because you are famous, unlike me, your highness.”
Renato made an expression saying that Khalid just asked something obvious.
Khalid was already a famous knight on the continent.
Over the past few years, he had been on numerous battlefields, winning all of them without a single defeat.
Khalid was feared by the so-called barbarians, the desert tribe, and the mountain tribe.
Out of fear, they called Khalid “The Knight Who Brings Death”, “The Undefeatable Black Wolf” and “The Red-Eyed Slaughterer”.
Anyone who followed the path of the sword, as well as anyone with any interest in international affairs, could not be unaware of Khalid.
That was how powerful he was.
“For my purpose, I need your power, your highness.
In return, I will give you what you want.”
“You speak like you know what I want.”
“An ice-free port for trade in winter, a plain for a stable food supply, and a position where you can solve problems with the current Queen, Her Majesty Maryam, and ease the political burden on you.”
Khalid’s gaze stiffened when hearing Renato’s relentless words.
What came out of those small, plump lips was long-standing troubles for the Khan Kingdom.
In addition, the last thing he added was a concern that would never be known unless it was someone close to him like Nasir.
“I think this is enough for you to show interest, am I wrong”
“You seem to have done a thorough investigation on me”
Khalid’s voice clearly dropped.
It was impossible to deny what Renato had said because they were all correct.
How did he know
Khalid looked at Renato with a suspicious gaze.
It may simply be that the Empire’s intelligence was excellent, but even so, he did not think that the Prince in front of him would know anything close to confidentiality.
He even doubted that maybe the Emperor or the Empress had informed him about that.
The first two cases could possibly be obtained by those who were well-versed in international affairs, but the last one was information that was difficult to be obtained even for high-ranking officials of the Empire.
For even in the kingdom, very few people knew that Khalid and Maryam’s relationship was no longer what it used to be.