“Huh? What’s that noise?”

Ares suddenly heard a shout.
Ares’ gaze followed Agnes’, and they turned their heads.

“Did someone famous come in?”

There’s a crowd.”

True to Ares’ word, people were surrounding someone.

“Seeing that …… reminds me of when I got into the Academy.”

“Ugh, don’t say that.
It’s horrible to think about.”

Lucas and Ares reminisced about their freshman year.

Only Lucia looked up to see who the main character was surrounded by.


Lucia let out a short squeal, and Lucas reacted to her words.

“What, Herwin?”

“……Herwin? Who is that?”

“Brother, there’s Herwin!”

Lucia hurried over to where he was.

Sure enough, buried in the crowd was a man with black hair and red eyes.

Lucia poked her head in and out, trying to find a way to get through.

“Okay, wait a minute……!”

She managed to get in, but she couldn’t get out.

“Lucia! Where are you!”

Lucas called out to Lucia from behind.
But she was already stuck.

“Aaah, aaah, don’t step on me.”

Lucia, the smallest of her classmates, was buried in the crowd.

“Uh, what do I do?”

A wave of regret washed over her.
But Herwin’s first instinct was to help since he hated so many people.


Suddenly, the pressure around her intensified, and some students were cheering.

Just then, Lucia’s wrist was grabbed by someone, and a strong force pulled her out of the crowd in an instant.


“It was you.
What are you doing here?”

Rubbing her nose against something hard, Lucia smiled broadly when she heard a familiar voice.


Herwin, who was much taller than Lucia, looked down at her in disbelief.

“What is she?”

“Is she an acquaintance of Phoenaeus?”

“A lover?”

Herwin clicked his tongue as he heard a murmur around him.

He removed his cloak and placed it over Lucia’s head.

As Lucia tossed and turned in the sudden blindness, Herwin looked around with cold eyes.

“Don’t bother people, get lost.”

Dark flesh shimmered around him.
The people who had approached him, hoping to make some sort of connection, backed away, their complexions pale.

Ever since the horde of people had arrived, Herwin had been trying to hold back a surge of irritation.

He’d been trying to keep his irritation at bay, but when Lucia was stuck between them, he couldn’t keep it in check.

Herwin took Lucia’s hand and led her through the loosening crowd.


Spotting Lucas late, Herwin’s frosty expression lifted and he smiled softly.

“You, fool.
Someone told me it was you, so when did you get down to the Islands?”

“I arrived yesterday evening.
I was supposed to be visiting my brother earlier.”

“Really? You’ve grown taller since I last saw you.
I’m pretty sure you weren’t this tall last time.”

Lucas pouted and stood next to Herwin, measuring his height, though he was still taller.

“I’m at the age where I’m supposed to be growing.
I guess I’ll be bigger here, judging by the way my knees hurt.”

“Stop being taller.
It’s gross, now.”

“I can’t stop here if I want to keep up with you.”

Herwin and Lucas hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, and they caught up.

Lucia left behind, removed Herwin’s blazer, which blocked her view, and straightened her disheveled hair.

Directly in front of her was Herwin, smiling broadly as he chatted with Lucas.

‘You look great again.’

Lucia’s mouth dropped open.

He was even more handsome than the last time she’d seen him.

His jawline had sharpened, his modestly cropped black hair ruffled in the breeze, and his piercing red eyes crinkled gently as he chatted with Lucas.

He was getting more handsome by the day.
Herwin was too good for her, and she couldn’t stop thinking about him.

A pounding, pleasurable rumble spread through her, making her heart race.

“By any chance, is that freshman Phoenaeus?”


Lucia let out a short scream.
Ares, now closer, whispered in her ear.

The heads of the two men, who had been chatting happily, snapped up at the same time.

Lucia struggled to compose herself.

“What? Yes, yes, it’s Herwin Phoenaeus.”

“I see, I see.
I’ve met Duke Phoenaeus before, and he looks exactly like him.”

“He does look a lot like the Duke.”


In the middle of her conversation with Ares, she suddenly felt a weight shift behind her.
Someone had pulled her from behind.

Lucas stepped between them and glared at Ares with wide eyes.

“Why the hell are you sneaking up on my sister!”

“Did I get caught?”

“Stay away from my sister! No, you are now off limits.”

Lucas was as wary of Ares as he had been the first time, and Ares smirked with his trademark smirk and scurried away from Lucas.

“Who the hell is that guy?”

She heard a soft voice in her ears.

Lucia’s ears burned red at the sound of Herwin’s voice.
But she managed to keep her composure and answered.

“He’s a friend of ours.
Ares Lydia, same ducal family as you.”

Herwin’s eyebrows knit together, and he glared at Ares, relieved of his discomfort.

“Lydia, so that’s why he has purple eyes.”

“Yeah, I didn’t realize he was close to Lydia either.”

She couldn’t help but laugh at the two of them bickering.
Lucia giggled, and Herwin glared at her.

“Be careful with this guy, even if he’s a friend of brother Lucas.”

“What? Why? He doesn’t seem like a bad guy.”

“Just listen to me, I don’t have a good feeling about him.”

“Well… if you say so.”

“Guys, I think you guys should get going on your way to commencement.”

As Ares pulled away from Lucas, he pointed to his watch.
It was almost time for the ceremony to begin.

“Yeah, we should probably get going.”

We’ll see you later, brother.”

As Herwin and Lucia turned to leave, Lucas called out.

“Lucia, if you ever need my help, you can always come to me! Do you understand?”

Ares, who had been grabbed by Lucas, also called out to Lucia.

“If you ever see my sister, say hello to her for me, I’m sure she’ll accept my name, and if you’re bored, come find me!”

“Why would Lucia come to you!”

Lucas shouted, lunging at Ares.

“……Lucia, let’s go.”

Watching the situation, Herwin frowned, then put her arm around Lucia’s shoulders and headed for the entrance ceremony.

* * *

“So many people.”

Lucia opened her mouth and looked around.
The auditorium where the commencement ceremony was taking place was crowded with students.

“We should go over there.”


Lucia looked for a good place to stand with Herwin.

But as they moved together, she could feel the eyes on them.

If being next to him was so uncomfortable, how much more so for him?



“You, are you okay with that now?”

Lucia covered the corner of her mouth with one hand in case anyone else heard. 

Herwin leaned back casually.

“You don’t like being the center of attention.”

“Ah, that.”

Herwin said nonchalantly.

“It’s gotten better.
I don’t mind it anymore.”

“But you’re getting more stares today than usual.”

She knew Herwin wasn’t as afraid of stares as he used to be, thanks to years of counseling and therapy, but she couldn’t help but worry.

Lucia’s fine forehead wrinkled, and Herwin nonchalantly stretched.

Just like that.

“Ouch, that hurt!”

Lucia winced and held her forehead.

“Don’t worry about it, just look ahead, it looks like it’s about to start.”

“Let’s just talk, do you have to hit me?”

Lucia pouted her lips unnecessarily and rubbed her throbbing forehead.

She thought she heard giggles behind her and turned, but Herwin stood expressionless.

“C’mon, don’t laugh.”

“C’mon, who says it’s funny?”

The corners of his mouth twitched despite his dour tone.
Lucia, who hadn’t missed it, complained once more, but Herwin stopped trying.

He turned Lucia’s head to look ahead.

‘She looks like a squirrel.’

Herwin bit his lip to keep from laughing again, but he couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Lucia’s backside.

It had been a long time since he had seen Lucia and Lucas, and it had been a long time since he had laughed so hard.

After another small chuckle, Herwin noticed that Lucia wasn’t standing still, but moving from side to side.

“What are you doing?”

Herwin asked as he watched Lucia’s behavior.

“Herwin, do you see a blonde woman over there?”

“There are a lot of blondes.
Who are you talking about?”

“Well, there!”

Lucia pointed to a woman in the distance.

Herwin looked in her direction and spotted the blonde woman.

“By any chance, the woman surrounded by people?”

“Yes! Could that be Princess Lydia?”

“She certainly has violet eyes.”

“Ah! Yes! She looks like Princess Lydia!”

Ares’ face seemed to appear out of nowhere, and it was indeed his sister.

“He asked me to say hello for him… should I go talk to her?”

“She’s too busy listening to the others.”

Herwin used his great height to explain the current situation with Princess Lydia.


“Besides, I thought it was just a comment, so why bother doing it?”

“Well, she’s a friend of my brother…….”

If Lucas was so casual about it, they must be quite close.

“I mean, it’s nice to be friends.”

“Just stay out of the way …… and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.”

Lucia started to walk away, but Herwin’s large hand gripped her small shoulder.

Her heart skipped a beat at the slightest touch.
Lucia quickly straightened up, afraid she was blushing.

Luckily, Herwin’s hand on her shoulder fell away.

[Ah, ah.
Let’s begin the 49th Imperial Academy Entrance Ceremony, new students, please…….]

The voice, amplified by the voice amplification tool, echoed in the auditorium.

The entrance ceremony had begun in earnest.

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