Huge thanks to rmhrpr for your kofi! (1/1)💕
Finding the Grand Duchess
Her clear voice that didn’t fit with the wariness within her eyes, her uniquely refreshing scent that wasn’t covered by the musty smell of the secret passage, as well her combat ability that was comparable to his.
He could also remember the moment where he was ‘enchanted’ by her clearly.
‘The desire to kill her disappeared in an instant. Let alone killing her…’
His stomach went numb from trying to hold back his urge to kiss her.
The fact that he had such a side was absurd. Ever since that day, after feeling such an itchy sensation, Lionel couldn’t be bothered to do anything other than think of Atalante.
He wanted to find her quickly and see her everyday.
“From the looks of the Grand Duke’s reaction, the rumour seems to be true.”
Perhaps it was because he didn’t believe the rumour, it was the first time that the Emperor looked surprised today.
Instead of answering, Lionel gave a light nod.
“It will soon be the season for the Founding Festival, are you perhaps intending to find your fated match during the ball?”
As the Emperor placed his chin on his wrinkled hands, he asked with a courteous tone.
While the Imperial aristocrats’ public opinion of the Grand Duke was quite negative, that was a separate matter from coveting the position of the Grand Duchess of Blanc.
“Who knows. I intend on looking for the Grand Duchess before the start of the Founding Festival.”
“Oh, so you’re planning to enter together as partners.”
“If she’s willing to.”
The Grand Duke didn’t have the slightest intention of participating in the Founding Festival.
Managing his land has kept his hands full, so he didn’t have time to waste hanging out with them and laugh at unamusing stories.
However, if Atalante wanted to participate in the Founding Festival, he definitely could spare as much time as she wanted to attend.
“With Your Majesty’s permission, I’d like to leave and look for the Grand Duchess now.”
With each other’s exchange of questions, his intended business here has ended.
He has also confirmed that the Emperor and the Garrison were still unaware of her whereabouts.
There was only one thing that Lionel had to do now, and that was to accompany Atalante first, before they found her.
The corners of his mouth began to itch at the thought that he would be able to meet Atalante soon
“…You may go.”
With a still smiling face, the Emperor waved his hand lightly.
The Grand Duke rose from his seat immediately, and left behind a simple greeting before disappearing without lingering.
Soon after, a man that seemed to be the Grand Duke’s butler rushed after him.
After looking at that sight for a moment, the Emperor ordered the knight that stood behind him.
“Bring Princess Diana over here.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Even after the knight left the audience chamber, the Emperor stared at the tea within the teacup that the Grand Duke didn’t even empty half of.
He had thought that it was a false rumour, but what brought him all the way to the capital in search of a Grand Duchess suddenly?
‘It seems that even the arrogant Grand Duke of Blanc also needs legitimacy and justification, right?’
In the Empire, those that aren’t married were considered incomplete, even if they had officially inherited their titles.
Even the second-to-none Grand duke of Blanc was no exception.
Furthermore, he doesn’t have a fiancee, so his position will inevitably narrow as time goes by.
It was obvious that Lionel had set his aim too high, and wouldn’t become in-laws with the families of the Grand Duchy’s vassals.
‘But no matter what… For him to come in person to the Empire so urgently.’
The Emperor gave a fishy smile. Wouldn’t it be funny for the Grand Duke of Blanc to look throughout the empire in search of a young lady to marry?
The Grand Duchy of Blanc would also be completely absorbed into the empire soon.
Although it didn’t go as planned this time, Lionel Blanc will soon lose his life.
With a smile of satisfaction, the Emperor took a sip of the cooled tea.
At the same time, Princess Diana arrived and entered with a servant.
While she wasn’t a gorgeous beauty, Diana possessed neat and elegant features, and was beautiful enough.
“It’s been a while since I last saw you.”
“What matters have you called me for?”
“Firstly, take a seat.”
Without hiding the signs of her anxiety, Diana faced her seat, but couldn’t help but frown after looking at the table.
“Did someone come here before?”
Did he call for her without clearing the table?
The Emperor’s insensitivity made her feel sick.
Only after the Emperor called for the maids and ordered them to set the table, did he lean deeply into his chair.
“Grand Duke Lionel Blanc came.”
At the sound of his name, Diana’s expression distorted strangely.
“I called you here today as I have something to say to you, Diana.”
Perhaps it’s because it has been a long time since her father called her by her name, Diana trembled without her realisation.
“However, before that.”
The Emperor turned his head and looked towards the door, calling for the captain of the Imperial guard that was waiting in a straightened posture.
“From now onwards, we’ll investigate all of the women in the Empire. As long as it’s a woman with red hair or purple eyes, catch them all and bring them to the capital.”
The most urgent order of business was to deal with the dog that failed to carry out their orders
Atalante has lived in the darkness her entire life.
Perhaps that’s precisely why she liked the quiet and defenceless night.
Liking it and matching with it were two separate matters though. Fortunately, she matched well with the night, and was adept at infiltrating like a shadow.
“…Should I sleep here today?”
As she leaned on a large Metasequoia that she thought was quite picturesque, Atalante bit into hard bread.
[T/N: Metasequoia is a genus of fast growing trees, otherwise known as dawn redwoods]
After staying here for a day and after around a week’s journey, she will arrive at the Black Land.
‘After I’ve passed through this forest, I’d rarely meet other people, aside from slash-and-burn farmers.’
She felt a little better at the thought that she would soon be able to stop playing such a suffocating game of hide-and-seek.
‘Did the members arrive safely at the Kingdom of Paille?’
The executives are smart, so they could move towards their planned routes without being caught.
Amongst them, perhaps the group led by Devon, who was especially thorough, had already arrived.
If they keep themselves hidden for around a month, the Emperor’s pursuit will subside, and all she had to do was to make a plan to meet her family.
‘After meeting up with my family, I’ll have to find out why and how many times can the Grand Duke be revived.’
She felt a little more at ease after organising what she had to do.
Her eyelids began to feel heavy after she felt comfortable.
It was insane for someone to close their eyes peacefully in the forest where ferocious beasts roamed in the middle of the night.
But Atalante was fine.
It’s because more than anyone else, she was someone that suited the night.
Just as Atalante was about to fall asleep, a sharp scream pierced her in the ear.
It seems that other than her, there was another madman that crawled into the forest in the middle of the night.
‘What should I do?’
If she stepped up here for nothing, there was a chance that her identity would be discovered.
However, as the man’s scream grew louder, Atalante could only get up from her seat with a sigh.
Contrary to her notoriety as a villain, she had saved quite a number of lives in this way.
Perhaps it was far more lives than Atalante had taken.
As Atalante moved towards the direction where the sound was coming from, she soon made a sound of disappointment.
‘What’s this? It’s just a wolf.’
She had thought that a dragon had appeared, as the man was shouting like he was on the verge of death.
With a snort, Atalante walked past the threatening wolf and approached the man sitting on the floor.
“Are you alright?”
Of course, she wore a black hood that was pulled down deeply. Within her robe, she was dressed in the flowing porcelain dress that she had worn in the day.
The joy that someone came to save him was momentary, as the man’s expression turned into despair when he realised the one that appeared to save him was actually a girl.
The same could be said of Atalante. The navy blue uniform that he’s wearing was definitely…….
‘D*mn it, it’s the Garrison again.’
As Atalante clicked her tongue, she hesitated for a moment, wondering if she should just leave this man like that.
There were a total of three orders of knighthood that were officially appointed by the Empire and received stipend directly from the Emperor.
The Imperial Guards that protected the Emperor and the Imperial Family, the Guard Corps that participated in the frontlines during war, and were in charge of the Imperial Palace’s and the capital’s protection, as well as the Garrison that was scattered throughout the country and executed the Emperor’s orders.
Unlike the Royal Guard and the Guard Corps, where only aristocrat’s children could enlist, commoners were able to join the Garrison.
Of course, it was impossible for someone like Atalante, who was born as a poor commoner without a surname.
“What’s a young girl like you doing here? It’s fine, so r–run away quickly…! That’s… A dangerous wolf that’s been starving for a long time!”
Whether it was to display the minimal amount of chivalry, the man on the floor got up with trembling legs.
Atalante couldn’t help but laugh at the man that stood in front of her.
‘If I save him now, I would have saved at least one person’s life later.’
After briefly evaluating him, Atalante reached her hand into her skirt.
At the sight of her actions, the man shouted with an extremely worried face.
“What, w, w–what are you doing? How indecent!”
Everything was indecent.
When Atalante held the gun strapped to her thigh, she paused for a moment.
It was obvious that if the shots were fired here, the sound would reach the village.
Then, this forest would… It’ll be included in the search area.
Atalante possessing all kinds of guns was largely attributed to Devon. As a competent weapon maker, he made various types of weapons with a variety of materials.
Guns were the weapons he was most skilled at making.
However, contrary to its power, guns weren’t weapons that were actively distributed in the Empire.
This was due to the accidental discharges that occurred frequently, and the fact that artisans with gun-making skills were rare.
The reason why Argo was able to stand at the peak of the underground world was due to the fact that all of the organisation’s members owned guns.
Of course, Atalante wasn’t just good at handling guns.
“Do you want to live?”
As Atalante took out the sharp dagger next to the gun, she asked while throwing its sheath on the floor.
“Of course I want to live! B–but…!”
“You have an excellent sword hanging from your waist. Why didn’t you draw it?”
He couldn’t finish his words as the large wolf rushed towards them as the man opened his mouth.
“Father! Mother! Jane!”
The man called the names of the people that came to his mind last as he closed his eyes.
Who would have thought that he would lose his life for nothing?
However, even after a few seconds and minutes had passed, he didn’t feel any pain.
‘Don;t tell me, that girl from before was first…!’
He was disqualified from being a knight.
The man with his eyes tightly closed, a bottom-level member of the Garrison, Archiralph, swallowed a gulp.
While he was considering whether to draw his sword, the sound of a pained groan reached his ears.
‘The sound is too beastly for a girl to make…?’
At that, Archiralph swallowed dryly and opened his eyes slowly.
As soon as the scene before him was reflected into his eyes, his mouth opened to the point where his jaw dropped, and he couldn’t close it for a long while.
“You’re still there?”
The clear features of the girl’s face before him, and the sight of the girl holding a wolf’s carcass that was much larger than her with a hand.
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow . Once we receive 6$, an advance chapter will be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting!