Chapter 16

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Taste of danger

 

Even before he could finish his words, a sharp dagger right in front of his feet.

 

Archiralph looked contemplatively at the girl that threw the dagger.

 

Soon after, biting words that were as sharp as the edge of the dagger appeared out of her mouth.

 

“Get lost.”

 

“I–I’ll be back tomorrow! You can’t leave before I arrive!”

 

Only after Archiralph left his place hurriedly and disappeared from sight completely, did Atalante take off her hood. 

 

“D*mn. That gave me a shock.”

 

Why was there an idiot like that? No, I should say that it’s a good thing. 

 

Perhaps Archiralph surpassed Yuffie in foolishness. 

 

Yuffie was good at fighting, whereas he was incapable of wielding his sword, so our Yuffie is much better than him. 

 

After roughly tidying up her dishevelled hair, Atalante covered her hair with the hood again.

 

Lying down like she was sinking into the grass, she slowly closed her eyes.

 

“Let’s close my eyes for a moment, and head further into the forest before the sun rises. No matter how much I think about it, it’s too dangerous to run into that guy again.”

 

After making a simple plan for tomorrow, Atalante Atalante fell asleep quickly.

 

She was already tired, but her eyelids were heavier than usual because of the encounter with Archiralph.

 

Perhaps it was the price of doing others a favour, Lionel appeared in Atalante’s dream that day. 

 

In the form of a maniac confessing his love while strangling her. 

 

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“Achoo.”

 

“Your Highness, do you have any symptoms of a cold?”

 

At the sound of his master’s cute sneeze, Paul had to hold back his laughter. 

 

It wasn’t until he met grand duke’s eyes, which were filled with killing intent, that Paul bowed his head and focused on sorting the documents he was working on. 

 

‘Was it because I cursed someone in my mind?’

 

Trying hard to hide the pricking feeling on his conscience, Paul organised the pile of documents with a determined expression. 

 

To be more exact, he was checking the letters that arrived at the townhouse.

 

The rumours that he came to the capital to find a bride had become a fait accompli and spreaded throughout the Empire.

 

Thanks to that, even though there was still a considerable period of time left before the Founding Festival began, regional aristocrats rushed to the capital.

 

Surprisingly, the letters took just a day’s time to pile up. It’s clear that they were trying to somehow turn their daughters into the Grand Duchess of Blanc.

 

“Your Highness, are you really… Do you really intend to marry that lady?”

 

Amongst the letters addressed to Lionel, there were many stamped with the seals of prestigious families.

 

It was natural for him to feel regret at the sight of letters from various families, regardless of their factions, as well as the County of Sera, who they had a friendly relationship with. 

 

The more he looked into Atalante, the more astonished Paul was.

 

Argo’s boss, Atalante, was a villain whose notoriety was at a level enough to match with Lionel’s deeds.

 

Her presence in his bedroom previously had also left a huge space for doubt.

 

However, the Grand Duke did not give even the slightest hint as to how the boss of the criminal organisation entered his bedroom and why.

 

‘In addition, the blood that was in His Highness’s bedroom…’

 

Lionel was completely uninjuried, and the boss had also suffered abrasions, but she wasn’t hurt to the point of bleeding that much.

 

‘Perhaps my master really has a taste for danger?’

 

As Paul sank into serious contemplation, he soon groaned.

 

“If you’re going to groan, why don’t you just go and sleep?”

 

While looking at the telegram from the grand duchy, Lionel whispered in a crooked voice

 

Due to his cold tone, the temperature of the surroundings seemed to have lowered by a few degrees.

 

“Your Highness, I have a question for you.”

 

Instead of allowing the Lord Chamberlain’s request, Lionel focused on going through the documents listlessly.

 

Since he didn’t deny Paul’s request, Paul decided to voice out his question. 

 

Paul observed his mood, before organising the sorted letters and asked the question that everyone was curious about. 

 

“Why didn’t you… Didn’t you catch that lady immediately after she ran away from the Grand Ducal castle?”

 

In actual fact, it was a question that he was curious about through the duration of their journey towards the capital.

 

That lady was definitely on the third floor…When she escaped through the window, Lionel was also with her. 

 

He could have easily caught the woman that’s running away, but why did he leave her be?

 

Lionel was someone that would find the person he had made up his mind to kill and ensure that their breath had stopped. 

 

He was so persistent when it came to punishing people, how would he treat the woman he has a crush on?

 

After throwing away all the letters that didn’t require a reply, Paul slowly turned towards the grand duke. 

 

Just then, Lionel placed down the documents that he was reading and opened his mouth. 

 

“It was because her appearance from behind was also beautiful.”

 

“What…?”

 

“I spaced out while watching, and missed the opportunity to do so.”

 

Paul was rendered speechless.

 

Paul’s master wasn’t the type of man that would crack a joke. No matter how much love turns a person into a fool, this was a little…

 

Suddenly coming up with something to say, Paul raised both arms and protested. 

 

“B–but if you missed that opportunity like that, you might not be able to find her for the rest of your life. Luckily, she’s a wanted… It’s a shame that it’s stuck to her. You had almost missed her forever.”

 

Can it be expressed as lucky that the first woman the Grand Duke fell in love with was a wanted woman?

 

After Paul swallowed back the murmur, he continued with furrowed brows. 

 

“And why didn’t you say anything to His Majesty when you had to visit the Imperial Palace? Your Highness is also looking for her…”

 

“You seem to have a lot to say, especially today.”

 

“I have always been talkative, Your Highness.”

 

Giving a sullen response in return, Paul looked at the grand duke with a curt expression. 

 

The only person that could be this impudent with the grand duke was Paul, who had served as his lord chamberlain for nearly a decade. 

 

Lionel, who looked at him like he was amusing, pulled out a small artifact in the shape of a lighter. 

 

“Your Highness, that’s…!”

 

“Did I let her go without any countermeasures?”

 

Ignoring Paul’s astonished expression, Lionel took a red strand out of a silk pouch.  To be more exact, it was human hair.

 

“After this much time has passed, it’s highly likely that she’ll stay in one place. When I checked yesterday, she had already left the capital and arrived at the village of Beli in the West.”

 

As he spoke, Lionel’s blue eyes were coloured with affection for ‘her’.

 

The artifact he was holding was “Kacha.” It was a rare object that would reveal the location of the target when a part of the target was burned. 

 

Aside from its high price, it’s very difficult to obtain due to its rarity.

 

It was natural that it’s a rare item. That’s because Kacha was disposable…

 

“Your Highness! D–Don’t tell me that you’ve been using Kacha all this time… Please say that you weren’t, please!”

 

Cleanly ignoring Paul’s screams, Lionel burned her red hair. With a small noise, the Kacha shattered, and hazy words appeared in its place.

 

  • In the middle of the Beli Forest, in front of the 52nd Metasequoia tree.

 

As Lionel watched the slowly disappearing words with eyes of interest, he leaned back against his chair, mumbling to himself. 

 

“As expected, her destination was the Black Land.”

 

Stunned, without hearing his master’s words, Paul counted the number of Kachas he had used so far.

 

‘One Kacha is about the price of a mansion, so even using five Kachas would exceed the budget… Just where did he get that previous artifact from?’

 

Without even noticing Paul that had turned pale from worry, Lionel reviewed the documents he was reading composedly. 

 

Soon after signing with flowing handwriting, the Grand Duke rose from his seat.

 

“I’m heading towards the Black Land right now.”

 

“At such a late hour? No, that’s not the problem… What do you mean, the Black Land?”

 

Why was there a need for him to step into a place that was swarming with demons?

 

The Black Land was ranked the highest of the ‘places that I don’t want to go in my lifetime’.

 

Even though Paul tirelessly continued to make an uproar about the dangers the Black Land posed, Lionel neatly ignored his cries. 

 

“Paul, make preparations to leave before I get angry.”

 

“W–When do you plan on getting angry?”

 

Lionel glanced at the clock for a moment, before giving a cold smile. 

 

“In 10 minutes.”

 

As soon as his words left his mouth, Paul ran outside. This was because Lionel Blanc was a hundred times, no, a thousand times scarier than demons residing in the Black Land.

 

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“Umh…”

 

It’s been a long while since the sun rose, but Atalante didn’t open her eyes, only making faint pained groans.

 

The reason why she, who was diligent, couldn’t open her eyes immediately was because of a terrible nightmare.

 

The silver-haired man that appeared in her dream kept coming back to life and chasing after her, even if he was cut down. 

 

“I love you. Please marry me.”

 

Only after listening to his absurd lines about 50 times was Atalante able to wake up.

 

Getting up abruptly, Atalante wiped her face up and down repeatedly. Spring was still in the air, and she was drenched in sweat. 

 

“That sh*tty dream.”

 

After rubbing the goosebump covered arms several times, she was able to erase the image of his bright face from her mind.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Just as Atalante let out a sigh, a worried voice came from the side.

 

“Who…! Ah.”

 

Reflexively battle ready, Atalante immediately showed a listless expression. 

 

It was strangely unfamiliar to see him in a bright place, but the man in front of her was definitely the silly person she had saved yesterday.

 

“It seems like you’ve had a bad dream.”

 

“It’s none of your business.”

 

Luckily, she had fallen asleep with the hood on. Hiding her face, Atalante slowly stood up. 

 

Was he called Archiralph? She had planned to leave before he came, but it was clearly her fault that she overslept.

 

“You asked me to teach you swordsmanship, right?”

 

“Y–yes!”

 

The dagger that she had thrown at Archiralph yesterday was still stuck in place.

 

Atalante picked it up, and let out a sigh filled with exhaustion.

 

‘Let’s hurry and clean this up.’

 

Just as Atalante vowed to leave the Beli forest completely before tonight and gripped the dagger.

 

A delicious smell suddenly passed by her nose. It wasn’t hard to locate the source of the scent. 

 

“Aren’t you hungry?”

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