The past week has definitely been one of the most hectic days of Atalante’s life.
According to Atalante’s will, no one other than Gianna could enter the annex.
As they weren’t facing each other, it’s natural that they couldn’t exchange their thoughts perfectly, so she had to approve her shoes and accessories several times.
However, Atalante didn’t mind the trouble, and she didn’t request the presence of other designers or craftsmen to the annex.
‘I don’t want to see your mad appearance like when you were with Gianna.’
The grand duke had only smiled embarrassingly when she questioned him about his reaction to Gianna’s wound later on.
Lionel gave a ridiculous reason only after she urged him several times.
“I’m a little… scared of blood.”
Those were the most nonsensical words of the century. It would have made much more sense for him to say that he’s ugly with his own mouth.
But she had definitely heard an answer to the question of what will happen from now on.
“I’m thinking of introducing you as my fiancee during this debutante.”
To be exact, those were definitely crazy words.
Before she could question him about why he didn’t mention that before, the Grand Duke added a very reasonable argument.
“To be honest, it’ll be hard for you to get rid of the stigma just by making your entrance at the debutante with me. It’ll also be hard for you to continue living, not only in the capital, but in every part of the empire. Both you, and your members.”
“…I suppose so.”
“So, why don’t you move your position to the Grand Duchy while the attention of the imperial citizens is diverted? An engagement would be an appropriate justification.”
There was no reason for her to refuse. Based on his words, she would be able to live quietly with her family at the outskirts of the grand duchy.
The problem was that she’ll have to continue staying under his influence.
“I can understand all of your words, but the title of the Grand Duke’s fiancee is too burdensome.”
“I don’t want to burden you, but this seems to be the best method currently.”
“…Then, just promise me one thing. That you wouldn’t force me to marry you.”
In actual fact, it was impertinent for a pauper girl to continue being stubborn even though she had already benefited excessively.
Despite that, Atalante demanded what she wanted. As if it’s alright to do so.
As Lionel mulled over Atalante’s words, a strangely sorry smile flashed across his face.
Though it was only momentarily, that slightly bitter face was imprinted in her mind vividly.
“But of course.”
She still didn’t know why the plainly spoken words made her feel sorry for him.
However, she had never thought of taking back her words.
Lionel kept knocking on her insides, so if she misstepped and got caught up in his pace, that would really be… when she came to her senses, she might have already became the grand duchess.
“Next week will already be the debutante.”
With a radiant face, Lionel sat next to Atalante, as if it was natural to do so.
“Why must Your Highness insist on sitting next to me instead of across from me?”
How was it that man would be radiant even in the morning?
Atalante gave his extremely handsome side profile a sharp look, before asking with a questioning look.
“My life expectancy would diminish if I were to sit across from Miss Atalante.”
“Why? Even the Grand Duke finds me terrifying, right?”
Her prickly and harsh face brightened instantly.
In the entire empire, Atalante was probably the only girl that would be delighted to hear that she’s terrifying.
Lionel burst into pleasant laughter at her words, before he shook his head and responded.
“No, it’s because you’re excessively pretty.”
What cheesy words did he say?
Lionel still looked at Atalante with a smile on his face, even though her fingers curled up and she looked fed up,
“Apologies for interrupting your conversation, but Madame Delica has arrived.”
As he cleared his throat, Paul, who was sandwiched between the two, informed them about Gianna’s visit.
His master was getting closer and closer to being a perfect fool every day.
It was as if he had lost his dignity as a grand duke, so Paul couldn’t help but let out a sigh, but on the other hand… he felt glad to see his master smiling more comfortably than before.
‘No, what kind of thoughts am I having?’
He can’t think of Atalante staying with his master as for granted. After all, she’ll be leaving some time or another, so isn’t she someone that must leave?
Though he could understand the engagement, Paul had a crucial mission.
He had to prevent that woman from becoming the grand duchess at all costs.
The door opened like it was about to break, and the servants began to drag in a hanger covered by cloth behind Gianna.
It was fortunate that Gianna managed to complete her clothes within the week that the grand duke had proposed.
‘What’s this, where did Paul go?’
He disappeared so suddenly that there wasn’t even time for her to be suspicious.
Gianna, who was standing in front of them, immediately opened her mouth nervously.
“From now on, I’ll be showing the works of the century to you, so please keep your eyes wide open.”
After a deep breath, she pulled the cloth off the hanger.
Atalante exclaimed unknowingly, and couldn’t take her eyes off the dress. She seemed to understand why Gianna described her clothes as a ‘work’.
Overall, the calm silhouette dress had a much more mysterious hue than what it looked like on the sketch.
Black, a deep purple, and a pale purple that’s close to pastel, created an elegant gradation.
“What do you think?”
Perhaps because she knew the kind of answer she’d be given, Gianna asked proudly while puffing out her chest.
Unlike food, Atalante didn’t have an eye for clothes, so she couldn’t pinpoint accurately on which part made it pretty.
However, her short exclamation held sincerity.
Gianna gave a satisfied smile at Atalante’s response, before opening her mouth to explain about her work in further detail.
“I was able to focus entirely on creating the perfect work, all thanks to His Highness the Grand Duke’s material and moral support.”
Before that, Gianna greeted her greatest sponsor, Lionel, politely.
Of course, Atalante had no idea that her dress was made with all sorts of rare materials.
The grand duke had contributed for around 40% of the debutante dress.
“Colours aren’t the only thing about this dress. The true value of this work would only be displayed when Miss Atalante wears it.”
Gianna spoke with an excited voice, and carefully lifted the ends of the dress.
Fine diamonds hung unsparingly from the many layers of purple lace.
Atalante was only momentarily distracted by the shimmering hem of the dress, and soon discovered that the dress before her was completely different in design from what she’d worn up till now.
“I don’t think that the dress was torn… What’s going on with that side of the dress?”
The side of the fluttering dress seemed to be slightly open.
However, it didn’t feel indecent at all, due to the delicately overlapping laces.
Gianna’s eyes gleamed at Atalante’s question, responded like she had been waiting for it.
“This was done while taking your convenience into consideration.”
“You seemed to be very uncomfortable with dresses that have a train. It’ll definitely be clearer when you try it on, but it’ll be much easier for you to move around.”
The arrogance that this woman gave off during their first meeting appeared again. Was this how a person that tried her best in her field feels like?
‘I’ve been working hard to live, but it’s not in a dignified field.’
Atalante tried to surmount her feelings of bitterness, and praised Gianna again.
“I like it very much. Thank you.”
Gianna turned red the moment she met Atalante’s purple eyes.
Receiving the praise of the person that she had gotten inspiration from just by looking at her was, to Gianna, more fulfilling than any other honour.
“There’s many other clothes besides this one.”
“I thought that my hands weren’t considered fast, but I just couldn’t make one only, no matter what.”
Gianna clapped her hands, and the servants that were waiting outside brought in a bunch of other hangers.
There seemed to be around 10 pieces at the very least. But Lionel had clearly ordered 15 pieces that day……
“Did you finish that many dresses in a week?”
“Things that I originally thought of as ridiculous seem to be happening unexpectedly often.”
In the first place, both the fact that Atalante was beside the grand duke and that he wanted her to make clothes for a wanted criminal were ridiculous.
Though she still didn’t know what she was doing, the sight of Atalante looking at the clothes that she made with shining eyes caused her complicated feelings to disappear like melting snow.
While the dangerous atmosphere Atalante exuded was attractive, her expectant face that was like a child was also lovely.
Atalante got up from her seat and began to carefully scrutinise the dresses.
Gianna only managed to catch a glimpse of such an Atalante, as she lowered her gaze quietly the moment she felt Lionel’s chilling gaze.
‘Come to think of it, His Highness the Grand Duke… He must have feelings for that woman, right?’
The relationship between the Grand Duke and the villain, Atalante.
It was something that she hadn’t given it any thought during the past week, as she focused solely on Atalante and her dress.
While she had many questions, she didn’t have the courage to ask them.
Just glancing at Atalante sideways earned herself a chilling gaze.
“I like all of them. Have I said this before, Gianna? You’re really professional.”
To think that such a simple compliment without any particular adjective would cause her fingertips to become numb.
Was that all? Gianna’s head was once again filled with new designs.
Lionel looked at Gianna’s flushed face unhappily, before approaching Atalante with a soft smile.
“Would you like to try it on?”
She was about to answer, “Of course I will,” but when she checked the back of the dress, Atalante’s face froze over.
‘…The back is revealed.’
A frown formed on her face immediately when she imagined herself in this dress.
Even if she wore a fancy dress, the moment that the tattoo on her back was revealed, Gianna’s work would also become a terrible wrapper.
It’s because the rose tattoo on her back was a symbol of Argo’s boss.
It felt like she had just woken up from a dream.
In the first place, this kind of dress wasn’t something that suited her.
‘Like a fool.’
Please support to save ROS. Your help is desperately needed.
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow . Once we receive 6$, an advance chapter will be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting!