Chapter 23

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Huge thanks to Njdor for your kofis!! (1/3) 💕

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Most importantly

 

A loud noise rang out when Atalante’s head bumped into the wall. 

 

The grand duke’s expression, which had been calm from the beginning, cracked for the first time. 

 

“Are you all right?”

 

Lionel murmured to himself, “Why was there a wall present in such a place”, and examined Atalante’s head with anxious eyes. 

 

Although a stranger, who happened to be her target to assassinate, touched her, her eyes were still locked in a daze. 

 

What did that crazy grand duke just say?

 

After confirming that Atalante’s head was fine, Lionel removed his hand reluctantly. 

 

After Atalante finally managed to come to her senses, she pushed the hand that was in the air roughly and asked. 

 

“Are you kidding me?”

 

Lionel wasn’t embarrassed, even though the back of his hand being hit by a woman was quite the awkward situation. 

 

He gracefully folded his hands behind his back and spoke with gleaming eyes. 

 

“I’ve always been serious. Ah, do you prefer playful men?”

 

“It’s not that!”

 

Unwittingly clenching her fist, Atalante struck her chest a couple of times. 

 

With a look of surprise, Lionel’s lips opened and closed, as if he wanted to say something again. 

 

However, Atalante was a little faster to ask again.

 

“Right now, you’re…proposing to me. Are you out of your mind?”

 

“Of course. Both my mind is intact, and my heart is sincere. Please marry me.”

 

A commoner, who was also the boss of the underground organisation, and His Highness the Grand Duke.

 

It made an overly ill-matching picture. 

 

Rather, a match between a lower aristocrat and a higher aristocrat, or a middle-class commoner and a nobleman, a marriage between individuals with such a huge difference in status had never happened before. 

 

Oh, I see. It might be possible if it was ‘unofficial’.

 

Laughing dryly, Atalante immediately opened her mouth. 

 

“You mean for me to become your mistress?”

 

As she spoke of the most plausible method, her eyes narrowed. 

 

No matter how much love he held due to the drug, a barrier known as reality exists. 

 

Lionel was speechless for a moment. ‘So that’s it,’ just as she was about to speak these words out aloud, his face that entered her vision was noticeably distorted. 

 

Just like a person that’s angry.

 

“Mistress?”

 

“Yes. There’s a world of difference between our statuses. Even if your words of love were sincere, it can’t be improved…”

 

“Haha, a mistress?”

 

Atalante’s retort was buried behind a despondent laugh.

 

Brushing his hair away with a slightly irritated gesture, Lionel looked at her with a determined gaze. 

 

“How can such a title be placed after your name, when it’s so dirty?”

 

“What?”

 

“Atalante, I’m telling you that I want to officially marry you.”

 

“…….”

 

“Please become the Grand Duchess of Blanc, and not some mistress.”

 

Grand Duchess?

 

The unfamiliar term rendered her mind blank. There were only three cases where ‘–bi’ was used in the continent. 

 

The Crown Princess of the Empire, the Queens and Princesses from vassal states, and the Grand Duchess from the Grand Duchy. 

[T/N: all of these terms are referring to the spouses of the men holding the corresponding title, and in korean their titles are denoted with the character ‘비’ which is ‘bi’. For example, the grand duke is 대공, while his legal wife is ‘대공비’]

 

‘Are you being serious?’

 

While the thought of mocking him for being unable to manage his feelings due to such a drug crossed her mind, for some reason she couldn’t even move her lips, let alone laugh. 

 

“Now and hereafter, there won’t be anything like a mistress. There’s only you.”

 

Holding Atalante’s hand once again, Lionel kissed the back of her hand in a reverent manner. 

 

It was the first time that Atalante realised a gesture like kissing could be so elegant and genial.

 

It was hard for her to protest because the contact was brief and fell immediately.  

 

The first marriage proposal that she had ever received was both plaintive and ardent, that she couldn’t bear to trample on it. 

 

But when has she ever done things with something like affection in mind?

 

“Everyone will scorn you.”

 

With a deliberately stern gaze, Atalante spoke with the intention to frighten the man that was holding her hand.  

 

However, her words didn’t frighten him and instead seems to have caused the Grand Duke to become confused. 

 

Letting out a short snort, Lionel interlocked their fingers with a gentle gesture. 

 

It felt strange when the warm and firm hands touched each other. 

 

There was an odd feeling, akin to a flutter…

  

It feels like strange excitement.

 

“It doesn’t matter to me, but if anyone dares to point their fingers at you, I’ll cut their hands off.”

 

‘I’ll take back everything I just said.’

 

All of a sudden, his warm skin se