The place where I should be
“Those b*stards are gathering intensely.”
Lionel glanced at the outside scenery through a gap in the window curtains of the carriage, and couldn’t help but click his tongue.
“Bas… What did you say?”
Did His Highness, the noble Grand Duke, know how to speak so harshly?
In many ways, he lives up to his title of ‘crazy’.
If Lionel wasn’t the grand duke, but a commoner, she would have recruited him into Argo, but it’s such a waste of talent.
‘Of course, the question lies in whether I can handle that crazy person.’
However he interpreted Atalante’s complex gaze, Lionel’s expression immediately changed to embarrassment.
“I didn’t curse.”
What’s wrong with cursing?
Atalante thought that short and rough swear words were better than ear-rotting nonsense. Of course, it’s a different story when those curses were directed at her with the intent to insult.
After he closed the curtain completely, Lionel turned around and stared at Atalante with a puzzled look on his face.
“I just took a peek, but there’s a lot of rats in the capital.”
If he didn’t have the ability to see through things, how could he have spotted mice in such a short period of time?
While he calmly accepted Atalante’s reluctant gaze, Lionel naturally showed his evil mind
“It’s hard to find a mouse in the Grand Duchy. The entire estate is neat and clean.”
“It’s so cold that all the mice froze to death. No matter what, I’m not going to the Grand Duchy.”
“There are Northern cats that live only within the Blanc estate. Not only are they good at catching mice, they are also very cute, with fluffy white fur.”
…This was a little tempting.
At the thought of rubbing the white cat’s fur, her fingertips seemed to go numb.
Perhaps sensing that she has started to waver slightly, a satisfied smile appeared on the corners of Lionel’s mouth.
“Please take your time and think about it. The Empire’s Founding Festival is a very long event.”
“It would be a relief if I’m not caught by the Garrison as soon as I take a step out of this carriage.”
“There’s no need to worry.”
In response to her sharp reply, the grand duke kept using an affable tone to reply.
“I had said that I would ensure the safety of both Atalante and all the members of Argo.”
He had definitely said so, but she still wasn’t assured.
Although the injury was healing through meticulous treatment, it was still a little uncomfortable to walk.
‘I’m not in the same situation as I was in, where I can take care of my body like I used to. I’ll have to follow this man for now.’
Nevertheless, she must remain vigilant.
Atalante rubbed the rifle located at her left inner thigh as if it were a talisman, before nodding lightly.
The curve of his lips deepened, perhaps assured that it was belief in him.
The carriage stopped, unknowingly reaching its destination, and Lionel got off the carriage first, and reached out to her while speaking softly.
“First of all, I plan to guarantee Atalante’s safety.”
That pair of sky blue eyes were full of sincerity.
For Atalante, she didn’t have any choice but to hold his hand obediently.
Atalante didn’t notice it when she got on the carriage, but when she used strength on her feet to get off, a sharp pain radiated from the injured area.
When she let out a short groan of pain, Lionel’s face crumpled badly.
At the same time, Atalante’s body was lifted up into the air. His soft yet gentle movements made her forget about the fact that her feet were off the ground.
“Are you okay?”
Immediately after helping her down the carriage, Lionel looked at Atalante with a worried gaze.
“I was stupid to forget about your injury for a moment.”
“It’s just a little numb. I can stand it…”
“I don’t want you to put up with it.”
Lionel, who rolled up a large robe sleeve, found her small hand and held it carefully.
“If you’re feeling uncomfortable or if something makes you uncomfortable, please don’t hold it in and feel free to let me know.”
“…Why, are you going to sort it out for me?”
Atalante asked while pulling the hood down deeply with her other hand to almost cover her face.
Atalante felt suffocated by his direct gaze.
‘Why do you keep looking at me in that manner? It’s not as if you’re really in love with me.’
Whenever Lionel looked at her like that, it seemed like her pledge to make thorough use of him would keep becoming blurred.
She thought that she had committed most crimes before, but she wasn’t used to the crime of deceiving people’s hearts.
Atalante pulled out her hand roughly, before turning to Paul, who was standing nearby, and said.
“I’m not comfortable with you.”
Despite the words that were close to a rejection, Lionel didn’t seem that disappointed.
It was because he managed to notice the odd heat within, like a demon.
“Are you feeling hot?”
While guiding Atalante to her room, as if he had suddenly seen something strange, Paul asked with his head tilted.
The West should have been much warmer than the capital, but her cheeks were burning like ripe apples ever since she arrived at the townhouse.
Paul’s question only caused Atalante’s face to turn even redder.
“But I’m supposed to introduce to you this evening’s dinner, along with the maid that will be assisting you in washing up…”
“That’s enough, just let me be alone.”
Atalante pushed Paul out of the door immediately and shut the door proudly.
There should have been a ‘Bang!’, but the well-oiled door didn’t cause a single noise.
‘What a strange personality.’
Paul stood there for a moment, and thought that this was better while clicking his tongue, before heading towards the grand duke’s room.
There were many things he had to do.
Before arriving at the capital, Paul obeyed his lord’s will, but he didn’t intend to let it flow as he planned after this.
‘No matter what, I have to stop that woman from becoming the Grand Duchess.’
Raising his clenched fist, Paul knocked on his lord’s door.
“Please, please come out!”
The constantly quiet Blanc Townhouse became noisy ever since morning due to the cries of a young man.
As if he was pleading with an ex-lover. A response might be given to such a pitiful voice, but there wasn’t any such sign from beyond the door.
“Miss Atalante! Please!”
Eventually Paul forgot her rudeness and began knocking frantically on Atalante’s door.
This situation looked nothing like the one from last night, when he knocked on the grand duke’s door with the thought of getting rid of her.
There’s only one reason why he was urgently looking for Atalante.
“Bring Miss Atalante over. I must see her eating today.”
It was none other than his lord’s order, which felt like a scolding.
Lionel, who starved for dinner like she did yesterday, couldn’t sleep at all because of Atalante, who was unable to properly relieve her fatigue from travelling.
‘There’s something I’d like to tell her in person, but I think it’s going to backfire.’
‘I’ve felt this before, but how is this woman so arrogant? Our Highness is so… well, his personality is quite dirty…and despite his frequent threats…at the very least, he’s, he’s… very handsome!’
After recalling one of Lionel’s strengths, Paul knocked on the door again to meet the snobbish woman.
“If you don’t open the door now, I might die!”
Only after the exaggerated plea was added, did the sound of a low woman’s voice appear.
“I don’t have an appetite.”
Paul’s eyes gleamed, seizing the opportunity that was finally presented.
“Your body has yet to fully recover. Even if you don’t have an appetite, you should still take your medicine after a meal.”
“You’re very good at pretending to be worried.”
Along with a deeply mocking tone, the large door opened silently.
A haggard-looking young girl appeared through the gap.
“I’m not sure what that means. I am sincerely worried about Miss Atalante…”
“You seem to be looking down on me for leading a rough life in the back alleys, but I can at the very least tell between someone that hates me and someone that likes me.”
Paul’s expression calmed down in the face of her confident purple eyes.
Come to think of it, he had already revealed his true colours before once.
“Be honest. I really hate hypocrites.”
Under her pestering, Paul’s calm expression disappeared, leaving a bloodthirsty smile on his face.
“In that case, I’ll be frank and take it easy.”
“That’s much better.”
Upon receiving her praise that wasn’t considered a praise, Paul’s face turned even stormier.
“I know that you used an unnatural method to capture His Highness’ attention.”
“An unnatural method. For example?”
At the inference that was close to the truth, Atalante’s eyes were filled with a strange light.
However, just as the name suggests, it was just an inference without physical evidence, causing Paul to let out a regretful sigh.
“It’s just a matter of slowly figuring it out. I don’t know what gave you the guts to stay by His Highness’ side, but you’ll soon return to where you belong.”
As soon as Paul finished his threatening remarks, it was overshadowed by Atalante’s brilliant smile.
‘The place where I should be.’
“Well, those words are quite pleasant to my ears.”
If the Emperor hadn’t looked for me that day, or if she had just dealt with the Emperor’s knight who came to fetch her… Such a situation wouldn’t have occurred.
The sudden order for capture wouldn’t have scattered her organisation, and she wouldn’t have incurred the crazy affections from the mad grand duke.
However, she couldn’t reverse things that have already happened.
She was just trying her best to return back to as much of her former lifestyle as possible.
“I want you to leave me alone for now. Even without your worrying, I’ll leave your master at an appropriate time.”
“…Why are you suddenly speaking informally?”
“That’s up to me.”
At her irritating response, Paul’s brows furrowed even more deeply than ever.
“What if I can’t trust you?”
Not wanting to admit defeat, Paul lowered his voice and asked with narrowed eyes.
“I’m not interested in your master. Grand Duchess? I have even less interest in that. As you’ve mentioned, my goal is to return back to the place where I belong.”
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