Taming and Taming
That was all Paul could think about when he witnessed a large man expressing his resentment with tears.
‘How could she say something like all food is the same when digested, but it doesn’t suit her taste…? And also, those sixty absurd criticisms.’
To be more exact, there were 56 ‘criticisms’.
While Rubel has always considered the accuracy of measurements more important than his life, he decided to allow rounding up this time.
60 lines of verbal abuse would be more effective in undermining Atalante than 56 lines of verbal abuse.
“Rather than my cooking, that woman insulted my very self.”
Absorbed in Rubel’s enthusiastic performance, tears gradually began to dampen Paul’s eyes.
Thoughts that Atalante was a woman with more common sense than he had expected were all retracted.
Apart from her lovely appearance, it was clear that she wasn’t any less of a villain than Paul’s master.
“Since I’ve heard those kinds of words! I have decided to give up on cooking from now onwards. Please don’t stop me, for I have made the decision while considering the dishonour of discontinuing the family business in my generation!”
Finally announcing his resignation, Rubel prostrated on the floor and burst into tears.
While Paul felt sorry for him, he couldn’t get rid of the thought that it was an opportunity.
If it was an incident to this extent, Lionel will see Atalante a little differently.
Even if it wasn’t intentional, insulting the servants of a villa was along the same vein as insulting their master.
Glancing at Lionel, the corners of Paul’s mouth couldn’t help rise.
He looked indifferent despite the presence of a wailing person in front of him.
However, Paul was perceptive to his moods, and noticed that an uncharacteristic gloom was present in his gaze.
It was hard to believe, but Lionel seemed somewhat sullen.
It was obvious how much more reckless a woman that didn’t care about anything would be if she was carrying the Grand Duke’s name.
‘Even if it doesn’t make him change his mind immediately, cracks would appear in His Highness’ affection.’
Just as the grand duke’s mouth opened, Rubel raised his head and spoke first in an even more pathetic voice than before.
“But that cruel person wouldn’t even allow me to stop cooking!”
Upon hearing the newly added testimony, a strange light entered the grand duke’s eyes.
“What does that mean?”
Rubel, who was about to continue after taking a deep breath, bobbed his chin and continued speaking breathlessly.
“I want to resign from this job, but that villain said she definitely wouldn’t let me go and will order me around like a dog for the rest of my life. She said that she’ll fix my filthy cooking skills.”
There seems to be a slight mistake in his lines due to his overwhelmed emotions, but it was more intense than the rough words that Atalante had taught him earlier, so he thought that it was alright.
“Your Highness, this is ridiculous!”
Unable to calm down, Paul flew into a fit and began to seethe angrily.
‘No matter what, I have to stop such a frivolous woman from becoming the Grand Duchess of Blanc. As the 341st lord chamberlain of the Grand Duchy of Blanc.’
Clenching his fist, he looked sideways at his master, who had a strange look on his face.
Seemingly in deep thought, Lionel blinked slowly and began to open his mouth.
The words that the grand duke spoke were often the opposite of what he meant.
With a glance at his expression, Paul could tell that unlike the term ‘interesting’, Lionel was feeling very upset.
“Paul, find a new head chef for this Blanc villa right now. Someone appropriate.”
Upon receiving the issued order, Paul left the room after bowing his head.
‘It’s unfortunate, but is Rubel fired?’
Paul hastened his steps, while pledging to compensate him for his hard work with a generous severance pay.
Rubel, who was left alone with the grand duke in a huge room, felt a chill for some reason.
Perhaps it was because the heated excitement from acting has died down, hence making him feel chilly.
‘Am I… being fired?’
While he was mentally asking Atalante what was going on, it didn’t take Rubel long to reach a realisation, and he let out a sigh.
‘I was a fool to believe in the words of a villain…’
If he had to rationalise it, he was so moved by her compliments earlier that he couldn’t make rational judgments.
It felt like everything before him was dark, but fortunately, it only lasted for a moment.
He, who was in a state of ennui regarding cooking, was inspired by her 56 ‘criticisms’.
Rubel decided to think that he had gained something more valuable in exchange for a job.
“Thank you so much for everything thus far.”
A well-mannered Rubel bowed deeply towards the grand duke.
Although he had made the decision to end it calmly, he choked up.
‘Let’s think about the good things, and be positive.’
Even if he was kicked out of here, Atalante’s recognition of his cooking skills wouldn’t disappear.
As such, he would definitely be able to get another job. It’s just that he wouldn’t be able to get a job with better terms than this.
Trying his best to think about the good points, a deep sigh left Rubel once again.
Isn’t it fortunate that he doesn’t have a family that he has to support?
“Make sure to clear the room you’re currently using before Paul returns.”
“…I’ll be sure to do that.”
He found it a little bit too much to chase him out without giving him a moment, despite his long working experience.
But he couldn’t bring himself to add any other words.
Even when he was leaving, he wanted to at least leave in good health.
Bowing once again, Rubel stepped towards the door.
However, before he could take a few steps, a cold voice penetrated through his lowered back.
“When you have the opportunity to, you’d better work harder.”
‘What does he mean by opportunity, when he’s the one that fired me immediately?’
Was he being sarcastic?
Without realising it, Rubel looked at Lionel with a pout, hiding his impolite thoughts with all of his might.
“Deep down, I wish that I could break your wrist for serving something that offended her.”
The grand duke glanced at his hand with indifferent blue eyes, before continuing with a wicked smile.
“If that’s Miss Atalante’s intention, there’s nothing I can do.”
“That…What in the world are you talking about…?”
“Rubel, until you have served Miss Atalante a satisfactory meal, you won’t be able to set foot in your hometown.”
As if a fuse was broken, his busily spinning mind stopped for a moment.
WIth his mouth wide open, Rubel asked hesitantly.
“Aren’t you… firing me out?”
Lionel’s neat brows crinkled silently. It was as if he had heard something foolish.
“What kind of nonsense is that? Did the words, ‘empty your room’, fall upon deaf ears?”
“D—doesn’t emptying my room mean… to get out of this place?”
“Right. It’s because you’re following us to the capital.”
Unintentionally making a loud noise, Rubel shut his mouth with a loud inhale.
“If you want to return to the West, you’ll have to develop more skills than the chefs of the capital and gain Miss Atalante’s recognition.”
Lionel added that this is the punishment for bringing a dish that doesn’t suit her taste, before nodding like he was asking him to get out.
How can there be such a sweet punishment in the world? Going to the capital…?
As Rubel clutched at his overwhelmed chest, he bent down at 90 degrees and repeatedly said, “I’ll do my best.”
He was so moved that he only left the room after Lionel reached for his sheath.
“Did you hear about it? The head chef is going to the capital!”
News of Rubel’s promotion spread through the mansion quickly.
These voices were so loud that it reached the ears of Atalante, who was looking out the window by herself in the guest room.
After listening to the murmuring voices in the hallway, she immediately let out a sigh.
She achieved her plan to compensate him properly.
‘He doesn’t seem to be someone that’s completely unambitious, so it turned out well.’
In any case, at the thought that she could still eat a lot of delicious food even when she went to the capital, her mood lightened slightly.
What she had to ascertain now was how Lionel, who had personally experienced Atalante’s nasty temper, would react.
‘I have to be certain that Lionel Blanc would still love me in spite of what I do.’
Esma had said that the effects of the drug would continue for as long as his heart beats, but it wasn’t bad to check just in case of an emergency.
In order to test the limits of his so-called ‘love’, Atalante’s notoriety as ‘the small villain’, wasn’t enough.
This was because there’s a gap between something that’s personally witnessed and something that’s heard from others, a gap that can’t be filled.
Of course, today’s plan was something impromptu and merely at the level of cute pranks.
From this onwards, if she continued to increase the intensity of the shock therapy, there might be a day where the grand duke would flare up at her.
Before that occurs, she intends to use Lionel thoroughly, and at the same time make preparations for her escape.
And if a day where the grand duke no longer loved her came, Atalante’s rough plan was to vanish without a trace completely.
‘However, if he still continues to love me despite my antics…’
…She’ll have to think of other means again then.
She didn’t want to think about accepting an idiot clinging to a villain while intoxicated by the drug.
In any case, she felt slightly pleasant when she imagined the grand duke being irritated by her evil deeds.
‘There’s many people that possess blond hair in the West.’
As Atalante stared out of the window blankly, the face of Archiralph, with blond hair and brown eyes, suddenly appeared within her thoughts.
She shook her head and tried to shake off the afterimage.
Even if she had worries, there’s nothing she could do for him. In the first place, they weren’t even close.
‘He was just kind and foolish, and a nobleman that wasn’t like a noble.’
Calmly collecting her thoughts, Atalante rubbed at the corners of her eyes to get rid of her fatigue.
A mellow voice of a man accompanied the sound of a knock at the door.
The identity of the person standing at the door was obvious, as there weren’t many that addressed her as ‘Miss Atalante’.
As expected, the person possessing such a nice sounding voice was one of them.
“May I enter for a moment?”
“If it’s just for a brief moment.”
The large door opened with a faint laugh, and a man with a gorgeous face appeared.
“I just wanted to let you know that we’ll be leaving for the capital soon.”
The grand duke raised his head lazily, with a smile that was very fitting for that motion on his face.
“Are you really… going to take me, who is a wanted criminal, to the capital?”’
Since she couldn’t understand the grand duke’s mind, she didn’t need to quietly grasp his intentions.
While she hasn’t figured out a way to deal with him, one thing was clear.
Use Lionel as much as possible for Atalante and the members of her organisation.
‘First of all, I need to figure out how well this man listens to me.’
Reaffirming her resolution, Atalante spoke while trying her best to not frown.
“What if I don’t want to go?”
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