Chapter 57 : Salvation comes from an unexpected source

“Good work.”

It was Rembrandt’s voice.

Rembrandt, who had been waiting on the shore, threw a rope, and pulled Leopold who grabbed it, along with the others with him.

When Leopoldo finally reached the shore, he put his hands on the ground and let out a huge sigh on his shoulders.

Alejandro and Natalia, who had lost consciousness, were transported by the soldiers after a brief treatment.

“You dared to jump in head first with such a battered and bruised body? For a woman who embraced another man and fell into the river right in front of her lover no less.”

“…”

“I didn’t stop you because you seemed to really want to go, but you’re injured now too.”

He then tossed a towel over Leopoldo’s head and moved over.

He nodded silently and wiped his hair.

His head hurts, perhaps from lack of sleep or perhaps from exhaustion.

“…well, I was kind of surprised.”

Rembrandt’s voice fell from above his head.

“At that time, you didn’t just dive in impulsively.
If it was the past you, you wouldn’t have hesitated to dive in with all that mess attached to you.
You could have drowned quickly.”

I wonder if he thinks he is praising me, but, on the other hand, I can only think that he’s humiliating me.

“Rembrandt told me to think… to think before I move.”

Rembrandt chuckled, then cleared his throat.

He looked up, and saw that Rembrandt was laughing happily.

“I see you’ve changed a little bit.
That’s good.”

“…”

Rembrandt tilted his head at the figure looking up at himself with a gaping mouth.

“? What is it? You look dazed.”

“No… it’s because Rembrandt is smiling.”

Rembrandt’s brow furrowed almost immediately.

“…it’s just me laughing normally.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you laughing like this before.”

“…that;’s not true.
How many years do you think I’ve been your childhood friend? I’m sure you’ve at least seen me smile.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

Leopoldo continued his words, nodding his head as if to confirm what he felt.

“I don’t know how to say it, but it seemed different from the smiles I had seen before.
You know, Rembrandt always had this kind of sarcastic smile, or a cold smile, or a kind of nasty smile.

“…nasty smile, huh.”

“Ah.”

After his words were repeated, Leopold realized his gaffe.

Before he can open his mouth to apologize again, Rembrandt beats him to it.

“Well, it could have been.”

“…huh?”

“I wasn’t very good to you.”

Leopold’s heart ached a little when he heard him reply with a straight face.

Leopold calmly ponders, I knew that a long time ago, so why now?

I had a hard time with Rembrandt myself.
But I don’t have that feeling anymore.

Yet Rembrandt is different.

I am a man who does not understand the subtleties of things, and I am aware that I am giving him a lot of trouble.

Normally, anyone would have probably looked honestly hurt here.
But Leopold smiled.

“Ah, as I thought.
Well, I had a feeling.”

I could change, and could even decide by myself.
I can even talk lightly now, pretending not to be hurt.

“Well, you noticed.
You seem to be a lot more attentive than I thought you’d be.”

“Rembrandt was just being obvious.
Even I noticed that you hated me very much.”

Still, as expected, I couldn’t see Rembrandt’s expression.
But I’m relieved that I could say it without losing my cheerful tone.

And yet.

Rembrandt let out a sigh of exasperation.

“I take back what I said before.
You don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“…eh?”

I look up in surprise.

My eyes meet Rembrandt’s, who is looking straight down at me.

“I said I wasn’t good at you, but I didn’t hate you.
I mean, I never hated you.”

“…”

“I’m not going to say anything about it.
It’s just… I simply reviewed it for a minute, and this is what I got.”

“Don’t hate… you don’t hate me…”

“I just wasn’t very good to you.”

“…haha, I see… you weren’t very good at me… well, good…”

“Why is it good? You’re weird.”

A voice then came down from above, as if dumbfounded.

But just from the voice alone, Leopold had a vague idea of what Rembrandt’s expression was right now.

His chest feels lighter.

“That’s good.”

Despite Rembrandt’s complaints, Leopold repeated his words once more.

He had to think about Natalia, Alejandro, the discussion with his father, how he should move forward, and what decisions he should make.
There were so many things to think about.

When Leopoldo first heard about Alejandro from Rembrandt, he was furious.
He hated Alejandro as he was a selfish, arrogant, and an unforgivable scoundrel.

He despised such a way of life from the bottom of his heart, saying it was unforgivable and unacceptable as a human being, and that he was an evil man.

He went undercover with a new resolve to protect Natalia, the innocent princess, from such an abominable man.

And yet, things were not as simple as Leopold had thought.

The pendant he gifted to Natalia shattered and scattered on the floor.

And without hesitation, Natalia kicked the railing and jumped into Alejandro’s arms.

Alejandro held Natalia in his arms as if he was protecting her with all his might even after he lost consciousness.

I thought everything had been cleared up nicely, but then I realized that only one of them had been resolved.

The image of Alejandro, who treats Natalia like a treasure, even though he is obsessed with her and hurts her…

And the image of Natalia, who feels attached and hurt, but still cannot leave Alejandro…

I couldn’t get it out of my head, my mind was in a mess.

In the midst of all that, Rembrandt’s words strangely reached deep into my heart, and I was somewhat happy and relieved.

Leopold felt a little, just a little, saved.

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