That Villain’s 56 Secret Criticisms
‘He looked even more frightened when I smiled.’
Awkwardly rubbing the back of her neck, Atalante stood up.
If Rubel already held prejudices against her, then no matter what she did, he would judge it as he pleased.
‘Since that man is an aristocrat, I must have been particularly frightening.’
The nobles would feel extremely ashamed just because they felt threatened by a commoner girl.
Also, Atalante enjoyed having those aloof nobles begging on their knees before her.
‘I can’t describe myself as kind, even when using empty words.’
After all, Atalante was a gray colour that could never be black, and neither could she be white.
Perhaps it would be easier to act along the line of his prejudices.
With a bitter smile, Atalante folded her arms and looked down at Rubel, who was still sprawled on the ground.
“Did you say your name was… Rubel?”
His face, which strangely had traces of youthfulness up till a while ago, instantly became oppressive.
Although he didn’t want to lower his head toward a wanted criminal, for Rubel, maintaining his life was much more important than his pride as an aristocrat.
‘Not to mention that woman is the hunter of nobles, the villain Atalante.’
As such, Rubel gritted his teeth and nodded his head obediently.
Giving a satisfied smile at his obedient attitude, Atalante continued without giving him the time to be frightened.
“I was so surprised at the meal I was served this morning.”
“The brunch… You ate it? Did you, perhaps, eat with His Highness?”
“’Did I eat?’ Where’s your honorifics?”
Frowning, Atalante brushed her hair irritably.
Her movement caused the white ribbon that was tying her hair together loosely to fly away with the breeze.
Despite the loss of her accessory, Atalante’s aloof beauty still remained the same.
It was really surprising that a girl without citizenship, let alone a title, was so intimidating.
Losing his remaining pride out of fear and awe, Rubel mumbled in an extinguishing voice.
“Did you… perhaps, dine in the company of His Highness? How in the world…”
“It’s obvious. As you’ve seen earlier, the Grand Duke is quite fond of me.”
“So, how in the world did you…that…”
Of course, Atalante didn’t answer that question.
“I’m the one who called you, Rubel. The meal that I ate today was so shocking that I made a request to the Grand Duke. I wanted you to present yourself.”
She gave a warm smile, and started to circle around Rubel, who was still unable to get up from the ground.
It was in a very slow and relaxed manner.
“Now, let me tell you what’s wrong with your cooking from now onwards.”
Suddenly stopping, Atalante clapped her hands lightly and spoke.
Rubel, who had even forgotten to tremble, stared at Atalante with futile eyes.
He had been cooking for all of his life, and was proud of that fact. Although he found it a pity that he didn’t have a successor, he had planned to continue cooking until the day he died.
While he wasn’t renowned like the chefs in the capital, he found joy and happiness in seeing people enjoy the food that he cooked.
‘However, will I have to stop cooking just based on that woman’s evaluation…?’
Just as he had witnessed earlier, Lionel’s affection for Atalante wasn’t a fabrication. If she said to do so, Lionel would definitely expel Rubel from the villa.
‘Isn’t being expelled a good thing. I might be k–killed for making her lose her appetite.’
At the terrible thought, Rubel closed his eyes in agony.
But that was only for a moment, as Rubel opened his eyes instantly and stared carefully at Atalante.
It was because at the same time, he wanted to hear what the problem was. He had the confidence to refute any ridiculous criticism.
Swallowing dryly, Rubel stared at the small villain with a nervous look.
“The steak melted too gently upon entering my mouth. Without even giving me time to feel its texture, it melted perfectly.”
“Secondly, the vegetables were very fresh. Did you just pick them this morning? Gosh, I thought my mouth had turned into a meadow as soon as I ate it.”
“Erm, excuse me…”
“Thirdly! How arrogant of you, finally using potatoes but making them taste like that. It’s not just the potatoes though. It’s an infringement for ordinary ingredients that are easily available around to have such a unique taste.”
Although Rubel has long since been bewitched, Atalante continued to list the ‘problems’ of his cooking.
The series of ‘harsh criticisms’ even made Rubel’s mouth widen dangerously, to the point where it was at its limit.
When she was speaking about the 56th problem, Rubel sprang up from his seat.
Perhaps because he felt emotional, Rubel stood panting for a long time.
Atalante waited for him to speak silently, instead of bringing up the 57th problem.
“With such sincerity… You’re the only one that gave me a concrete evaluation of my cooking.”
Rubel’s slightly quivering eyes turned red immediately. Soon after, overwhelmed tears slid down his rough cheeks.
“T–to be honest with you, I–I easily viewed you as a bad person earlier. Because of all the rumours and wanted posters.”
“I’m actually a bad person though.”
Snorting, Atalante tilted her head backwards.
Perhaps not finding those gleaming purple eyes frightening, Rubel expressed his thoughts with great emphasis.
“That might be true for others, but not to me. You might find it odd that I’ve suddenly changed my attitude, but… What I’m trying to say is, thank you very much.”
“It seems like no one has ever told you words like this before?”
“Everyone says that it’s delicious, but this is the countryside. There are very few opportunities to present food.”
As Rubel hesitantly rubbed his fingertips against each other, he continued with a sincere gaze.
“It’s an honour for you to eat my food, Atalante.”
After finishing his words, he bowed towards the small villain.
Despite being startled at Rubel’s bow, she tried to maintain a composed expression.
‘Is there a need for him to thank me? I was just telling the truth.’
As Atalante’s brows furrowed out of doubt, she quickly used an oppressive stance again to get to the main point.
“Forget about it, you’ve heard about all those problems that I’d told you about, right?”
“What? But the things that you’ve said weren’t problems…”
“Didn’t I tell you about the Problems! That! You! Have! With your cooking. It was such a harsh criticism that you even thought about giving up on cooking. You’ve remembered that, right?
The tactless head chef had a puzzled expression and tilted his head.
Atalante let out a sigh and pulled up her dress to reveal a pair of delicately crafted shoes.
Before Rubel could admire its beautiful design, she stepped on the back of his foot with her small foot lightly.
What kind of power was contained within those small feet, which were no different from the size of his hands, that the back of his feet burned, causing him to let out a faint groan?
“I had definitely pointed out all of the problems with your cooking one by one. With extremely ruthless and wicked terms. Right?”
Forced to give her the answer she wanted, Rubel continued to look at Atalante with a baffled gaze.
Only then did a smile form on the corner of Atalante’s lips.
“Good. Now, there’s something that you need to do. Go to the Grand Duke right now and tell him that you’ve been insulted so badly that you want to quit being a chef.”
“What do you mean…?”
“Tell him that you want to resign.”
Atalante spoke firmly while taking her foot off the back of Rubel’s foot.
Rubel couldn’t figure out what exactly it was that she wanted.
She had said that she’ll tell him about the problems with his cooking, but the great reviews made him excited, and now she suddenly wants him to request for his resignation?
“You’re free to make up the specifics of what wicked terms I’d said. Cooking requires creativity, so it’s right up your alley to fabricate them, right?”
“Wait a minute, I’m not quite following…! I want to work here for a long, long time!”
“Don’t worry, you won’t be fired. This isn’t the end of my request yet.”
With a soft smile, Atalante rose to her tiptoes and met Rubel’s eyes.
Strangely enough, she had a scent of spring that didn’t match with her identity as a villain.
“I wanted to quit this job, but that villain said that she wouldn’t let me go. She said that she’ll help to fix my unsatisfactory cooking skills.”
With an acting tone, Atalante spoke those lines and returned back to her original height.
“Tell him like that.”
As Atalante added, “It isn’t hard, right?” She stared at Rubel with a subdued gaze.
“Why in the world are you requesting me to do that…? If he knows that you’ve done such a wicked thing, the Grand Duke will definitely think badly of you. No, you didn’t even say something like that in the first place…!”
The only thing Atalante did to him was step on the back of his foot.
She had never talked abusively or asked for anything obstinately.
Looking at Rubel’s shaking pupils, Atalante immediately made a deflating sound.
“That’s the correct answer.”
“I want to be hated by the Grand Duke.”
Why in the world?
Tens of thousands of question marks arose in Rubel’s mind.
Instead of solving his question, the culprit behind that nonsense drank all of her cooled tea that was on the tea table at once.
Atalante had even let out a short sigh, and instructed him on what he had to do with a determined voice,
“I want you to talk so badly about me that the Grand Duke will hate me.”
After speaking, “Please do your best,” the villain turned around and left the garden without hesitation.
Even after she had disappeared, Rubel continued to stand there dazedly for a long time.
Although Rubel still couldn’t understand Atalante’s intentions, Rubel was going to do his best to fulfil the request of the person that treated his dish sincerely.
‘Even if I look like this…I’m quite confident in my acting. After all, I used to be in the theatre department.’
Despite his rugged size, when he was attending the elementary branch of the Academy, Rubel was one of the best actors for crying.
As Rubel filled his head with sad thoughts, he moved forward to have an audience with the grand duke.
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