Chapter 6

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Please marry me.

“Is my expression weird? No, more than that…”

He was very much unlike himself, stuttering restlessly. 

Why was he suddenly speaking with honorifics? As Atalante didn’t understand the situation, she didn’t relax her guard, but instead observed Lionel’s red face. 

What’s wrong with him? He died and came back to life twice. Am I crazy?

“More than that, what?”

Her entire plan was ruined, making her extremely annoyed. She couldn’t focus on anything anymore, be it the Emperor’s request or the faces of her members. 

The only thing that filled Atalante’s mind was something she wanted to say to the Grand Duke.

‘Ah, won’t you just die!’

Atalante stared at the Grand Duke, who was at a loss with an aghast expression.

Unlike the first impression that he gave off that he wouldn’t bleed even if he was stabbed, his face was full of gaps.

[T/N: ‘full of gaps’ as in you can tell what he’s thinking from his expression]

Without even realising her thoughts, the Grand Duke stared at Atalante as if he was looking at the loveliest thing in the world with a blushing face. 

She was embarrassed by his pure-looking eyes, which were devoid of lewd desire. Has anyone ever looked at her with that kind of gaze?

Her heart lurched at the gaze that didn’t fit the tyrant at all. 

“What’s your name?”

As soon as she heard the lines spoken by Lionel, Atalante sank to the ground where she stood with a thud. 

With excellent reflexes, Lionel held her by her shoulders and called loudly. 

“Are you alright? D*mn it, Paul! Bring a doctor right now! Paul!”

Atalante could only look at him with her mouth wide open at the Grand Duke’s abnormal behaviour. Was this a new method of his to trap her?

Even so, Lionel’s actions soon after were quite strange. 

To be exact, it was sweet. It wasn’t enough to hold her by the shoulders, the Grand Duke had even treated Atalante like he was dealing with a precious lover… and lifted her into his arms. 

“Wait, what are you doing…!”

“I’m sorry. The servants are running late. I’ll take you to the doctor right away.”

“Have you gone crazy? I think you’re the one that needs a doctor.”

As Atalante was held in Lionel’s firm arms, she had forgotten even his identity and spoke rudely.

“…Gone crazy? Yes, that seems to be the case.”

It’s fortunate that he seems to be aware of his own condition.

The young manservant that arrived in the Grand Duke’s room, Paul, alternately looked at the messy room and the room’s owner with a look of astonishment.

The last place his gaze landed on was the crimson haired lady being held by his master.

The problem was that her outfit was unusual, as black clothing with dark red marks everywhere were clothing worn by assassins.

Before Paul could ask for her identity, the voice of the Grand Duke, who was speaking in a dreamy voice, floated to his ears.

“I think I’m smitten with you. I’ve never felt this way before.”

The Grand Duke didn’t even pay attention to Paul, who ran over late at night due to his yelling.

His gaze was only directed towards the woman in his arms, Atalante. The burning and ardent gaze aimed at her made her feel like throwing up. 

‘What– what the heck was that…!’

It was surprising that his master was embracing a woman in his room at this moment, but the words that just left his mouth were even more shocking. It wasn’t that he wanted to kill her, but he fell in love with her?

The Grand Duke was, without a doubt, someone that wouldn’t say such sweet nothings towards a woman. 

“What are you doing? Where’s the doctor?”

“Your Highness… What in the world…! Who is that girl?….”

As he had too many questions, he could only ramble. And that action of his was enough to rub the Grand Duke’s the wrong way. 

“Paul, have you gone deaf? I told you to bring a doctor.”

Like the amiable gaze he had given towards Atalante was a lie, Lionel bared his teeth towards Poe, who had stiffened into a hard stone. 

Only at the sound of his reprimand, did Paul leave hurriedly to call for a doctor. 

As Atalante was being carried to a guest room by the Grand Duke, she still couldn’t grasp the situation she was in.

Her guess was that there was something seriously wrong with the poison that he was fed earlier. 

‘Young Lady Evita, this poison… Was it a medicine to contract a mental illness?’

She called out for the name of the Young Lady that gave her the medicine, but there was no reply. 

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The doctor that diagnosed that there was nothing wrong with Atalante could only leave the mansion after being slapped by Lionel. It was still vivid in her mind how the Grand Duke yelled at his physician with a menacing expression. 

“The lady’s strength was drained from her legs, and she suddenly collapsed to the ground. What if she can never walk again? If you don’t diagnose her properly, your neck is going to fly.”

His groundless conclusion eventually forced the doctor to create a disease that didn’t exist.

What was it called again? Plonk syndrome?

It’s a chronic illness that will cause leg strength to weaken when the patient is too surprised. 

 

Atalante, who was suddenly suffering from a chronic disease, was forcibly placed in the second largest room in the castle after the Grand Duke’s bedroom, the study.  

This was also the result of Paul’s long and desperate dissuasion against Lionel bringing her back to his bedroom. 

While the Grand Duke was outraged, saying how he could serve Atalante in such a shabby room, Paul was unyielding.

“Your Highness! There’s a distinction between men and women, what are you saying now? What if a strange rumour about Your Highness, who has yet to marry, arises?”

It was the first time Atalante witnessed a fully grown male imploring while grabbing onto another’s pants. That appearance was much more desperate than she had imagined, making her feel sorry for him.

“All of you, leave. The lady is uncomfortable.”

‘You’re the one that’s making me most uncomfortable…?’

But the wilful Grand Duke kicked all the servants out of the room without caring about her thoughts at all. 

During that short period of time, a small incident occurred, and the eyes of the servant Paul, who had looked at Atalante doubtfully, had almost lost his eyes to the Grand Duke’s hand. 

“Even if it’s uncomfortable because this place is too narrow, please be understanding.”

This room is considered small? Atalante’s brows furrowed at his nonsensical words. 

It’s regrettable, but the size of this room was similar to the total floor space of the three-story hideout. Far from being narrow, it was spacious to the point of bewilderment.

“I was extremely rude when we had first met earlier. I’m clumsy when dealing with people of the opposite sex, and it seems that I have acted discourteously. Will you forgive me?”

Normally, people wouldn’t strange others just because they’re clumsy when dealing with people of the opposite sex. 

Just as Atalante was about to speak pointedly, she realised that she was the one that tried to kill him first, before closing her mouth and remaining silent. 

Although it was hard to believe, Lionel truly seems to have fallen for her. It wasn’t at the level of an infatuation, but as the name suggests, love… it seems like he had fallen in love. 

“To forgive or not… Your Highness, are you alright?”

Atalante was quite concerned with the condition of his head. What the Grand Duke drank seemed to be a medicine that destroyed his brain cells, and not a poison that stops his breathing. 

Just a few minutes ago, they were pointing guns and swords at each other with the intention to murder the other. 

But he had suddenly fallen in love with the assassin that hid in his bedroom? That was something that couldn’t have happened. 

However, it seems that Lionel hasn’t completely grasped the meaning of Atalante’s words, as his eyes were moist, as if he was very touched. 

“Are you worried for me? How… how do you have such a beautiful heart?”

At the sound of his words, goosebumps rose all over her body. Was it a new method of interrogation?

“…I had definitely killed you. But why? How are you still alive?”

And it happened several times.

As she lay on the bed in an equivocal position, Atalante’s eyes were bright and piercing. An embarrassed smile appeared on the face of the Grand Duke, who was staring at her. 

“It’s a secret that no one knows about. Are you curious?”

“No one knows? How can no one be aware of it?”

“There are many people who have seen me come back to life, but none of them managed to leave with their lives.”

Atalante had almost become one of ‘them’ too. How could he say such a brutal line so casually? An exclamation appeared at his overwhelming madness. 

“What do you think? Should I tell you?”

At his tenderly-asked question, Atalante nodded slowly.

Lionel looked at her face that was filled with both curiosity and vigilance, and gave a refreshing and boyish smile. 

For a moment, Atalante’s gaze was drawn to the bright face, but the following words of the Grand Duke caused a scowl to appear on Atalante’s face.

“If you marry me, I’ll tell you.”

“What?”

“I don’t know how to beat around the bush. I’m sorry for saying this even though it’s our first time meeting, but please marry me. I love you.”

As he held Atalante’s hand naturally, a look of desperation was written all over his face. 

It was a baffling proposal. And love? She was so speechless, she couldn’t even laugh hollowly.

While Atalante stiffened with a shocked expression, Lionel moved his lips again.

“Come to think of it, I was so impatient that I hadn’t even introduced myself. I’m Lionel Blanc. What’s your name?”

What kind of idiot would propose to a woman whose name he doesn’t even know? Even Yuffie wouldn’t do anything like this.

After he finished speaking, Lionel clasped Atalante’s hand even tighter.

He seemed intent on finding out her name that he hadn’t heard in the bedroom.  

“Earlier, you said that it was meaningless to hear my name as I will die anyway.”

After giving a sharp answer, Atalante stared at him with eyes filled with wariness.

However, far from being angry, the Grand Duke’s eyebrows drooped. Just like a puppy that had done something wrong to its owner.

“Sorry, because it was too dark…”

What does darkness have to do with this?

Atalante swallowed the following words, and stared at Lionel, who was speaking gibberish. It was completely different from when he was strangling her earlier, to the point where she wondered if he had a split personality.

The Grand Duke awkwardly rubbed his neck, before bowing his upper body towards her and asking for her name again.

Was he planning on setting up a tombstone for the assassin?

She could understand if this was the whispered ‘love’ that was spoken of by the notorious Grand Duke. 

With eyes still filled with suspicion, Atalante slowly opened her mouth.

Lionel fixed his gaze on her red lips, holding his breath in order to engrave her name in his memory. 

“Do you think I’m crazy enough to tell you my name?”

Atalante spat viciously in his face and dashed towards the window that was larger than the door. Although her legs were still throbbing, it wasn’t time to care about that.

As she used the running momentum to break the window with her body, Atalante met eyes with Lionel, who was looking at her with a forlorn expression. 

His eyes were clearly saying to not go. 

Why was he looking at a woman that he’s seeing for the first time, and an assassin at that, with such a gaze?

Although she landed on the grass safely, the side of her arm started to creak in protest as her body wasn’t at its optimal condition. A piece of glass gazed against her soft skin. Nevertheless, Atalante continued to run.

Run, run.

Leaving behind the walls of the Grand Duchy that kept coming to her mind vividly.

“…Was there a pressing matter?”

Through the broken window, fluttering crimson could be seen. Lionel quietly watched the disappearing silhouette, of the woman leaving the castle with hurried movements. 

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