Chapter 26: At that Time (Alejandro’s POV)

“Zakarias, have you finished handling all the cargo you stole?”

Alejandro, who was drinking tea in his room, asked this question as soon as his attendant entered the room.

All seized items have already been handed over to the buyer.
Here is the amount of the sale.”

Zacharias responded, holding out the report in his hand.


Alejandro nodded as he checked the list of item names against the numbers written next to them.

“It seems that the cargo we took from the merchant ship did not sell as high as it should have, but I guess that can’t be helped.
It is natural that foreign goods are sold at a higher price because they are more rare.
Yes, that’s good.
Not bad.”

Alejandro threw the document, which he had just checked, directly into the fireplace and lit it on fire.

The documents quickly burn up and turn to ash.

After making sure everything was reduced to ashes, Alejandro turned to Zacharias.

“Just split the money as you always do.
Fifty percent of the profits, minus necessary expenses, will be divided equally between myself, 30 percent between you, and the rest between those who worked this time.”

“Thank you very much.”

What shall we play next?”

Folding his arms behind his head, Alejandro muttered happily.

“If we have too many similar accidents in a row, people will be wary of us.
Let’s try something different next time.”

“That might be a good idea.
It would be a nuisance if they took action against us.”

Leaning against the backrest, with a creaking sound, Alejandro spoke his mind.

“Now let’s get it secretly from the inside.
If it’s embezzlement or misappropriation of goods, it would be low profile and would take a while to notice.
I know you had a couple of guys lurking around, could we use them?”

“Of course.
Whenever Alejandro-sama instructs me to do so, I can move them.
It would be enough to do some damage.”

“I’ll leave it to you to choose the right people.
But make sure to punish anyone who tries to mess with my toy, Natalia.”

“I understand, leave it to me.”

“I have to get him to the point where he won’t be able to marry her before graduation… well, this time, I don’t think anyone is going to come to offer him a helping hand.”

After the attendant bowed and left the room, Alejandro looked up at the ceiling in a daze, lost in thought for a moment.

“…Natalia really never learns.
There’s nothing left in her hands after all this time, and she’s still dreaming.
But that’s what I like about her, she’s such an idiot.”

A cat, a little bird, a hair clip given as a gift, a brooch that belonged to her mother, a few photos of parents and their children, a potted plant of her favorite flower, and a friend.
No matter, both men and women.

There were probably more things that he took from Natalia, but Alejandro does not remember every single one of them.

Because there was no point in remembering.

Natalia needed only herself and Alejandro, that was all that mattered.

Still, he playfully dug into his memory to try to remember a little more to pass the time.

‘And then… what else? Pressed flowers, lace ribbons, dolls… hmmm, no good.
There are so many, there’s no end to them.
First, there’s that one, that picture book.’

Right, that was Natalia’s favorite picture book.

Alejandro first took it from Natalia.
He took it away from her directly.
Because at that time he still didn’t know that she was a daughter of the Viscount.

He tore it to shreds in front of her and she cried so hard.

She blinked her eyes wide in disbelief and then burst into tears.
It was like seeing his sister come back to life, and it was thrilling to watch, he was very happy.
It was good up to that point.

But after that, it was a hassle.

Then, for a short while, whenever he tried to get close to her, she would run away.
Moreover, he learned that his toy, Natalia, was an aristocrat, albeit a lowly one.

Well, her father was the kind of guy who didn’t care if Natalia cried or not.

That was where she differed from his sister.
Natalia could easily escape from him if she wanted to.
If she or those around her were aware of it, she could easily escape from him.

When Alejandro realized this, he then changed his approach.

Do not lay your hands directly on the person in question.

Execute it where no one is looking or move the people around her.

It was a bit time-consuming and, to be honest, seemed tedious at first.
But manipulating people was interesting and surprisingly effective.

Natalia, who loses everything she holds in her hands whenever he takes it, eventually comes to believe that it was her fault.

Natalia, who did not receive enough love at home, gradually became accustomed to it, longing for love, but with a flickering sense of resignation somewhere in her heart.

Alejandro, who has remained by her side, has become her emotional anchor.

Alejandro himself indulges her as much as he can in Natalia’s presence.

Natalia was so adorable, as she smiled with relief after she got the warmth she was looking for.

However, the look in her eyes was the same as that of his parents and siblings.

He thought it wasn’t bad to see such a face, but…

Alejandro was happy but unsatisfied with her gratified and dependable gaze.
He felt that it wasn’t enough.

He wanted her to be more entangled with his hands.
He wanted to dye her whole body with despair and resignation.

“That woman, Beatrice Strydom.
That one was surprisingly useful, so I kept her by Natalia’s side.”

In anycase, in the previous life… she was so sick that she couldn’t come to the academy right away.

He may have comforted Natalia, who was lonely, but soon Beatrice was able to attend the academy again.
However, she soon collapses again, much to Natalia’s dismay.

Without Alejandro having to do anything, Beatrice appeared and disappeared by Natalia’s side on her own, raising and lowering Natalia’s emotions in interesting ways.

And that woman will soon die anyway.
There was no cure for her disease she was suffering from at that time.

Alejandro just needed to be amused.
Just be with them and pretend to be concerned.

It was then that it began to go haywire.

That’s right.
Since that time when a man, Leopold, got his hands on his toy.

Natalia, who was dependent on Alejandro and also on the presence of Beatrice, gradually became less and less needy of the two of them.

Because he was a high-ranking aristocrat, it took him a long time to get his hands around.

But even so, at that time, he had already taken the necessary steps.

Of all people, Beatrice, the woman who was supposed to be a convenient pawn, got in the way.

No, it was fine that they got married.
But the subsequent financial support after that was beyond acceptable.

And that household, Marquise of Strydom, was quite nasty.
The father and the brother were so strong that it was hard to belive that they were relateed to that dumb Beatrice by blood.

It was pretty tricky, and they almost pushed him into a corner, so he finally decided to move Natalia.

But Natalia did something unexpected.
He may have gotten the dosage a bit wrong, but he was really surprised at that point.

I almost lost my precious toy forever.
My gut is still boiling over when I remember it now.

“…Beatrice Strydom.
I’m going to let you off the hook this time, since you seem to be quiet this time.”

His murmur rang in the room occupied by Alejandro’s presence alone.
it was not for anyone to hear.

“If you ever get in my way again…”

Subtle, but surely, he uttered these words in a spur.

“Then, at that time…”

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