“Wow… she’s a magical woman.
Not only does she attract men, but women as well.”

“A formidable foe.
It’s not easy to get a reaction like that out of Lucia.”

“Lucia, you’re blushing.”

After Arista left, her friends talked about her behavior later.

Just moments earlier, she seemed to be trying to seduce Lucia.

It was funny to see Lucia, who hadn’t changed her demeanor despite Brian’s tireless efforts, blush at Arista’s smile.

Lucia rubbed her cheeks, wondering if she was blushing.

Herwin, who had been watching the situation, wrinkled his nose.

Something didn’t sit right with him, and he glared in the direction of Arista’s disappearance.

“Herwin, where are you going?”

“To wash my face.”

“Oh, well, I’ll go with you then, girls, I’ll fetch some water.
If we’re late, you go first.

Lucia hurriedly grabbed an empty bucket of water and followed behind Herwin.

Herwin stopped walking briskly when he heard Lucia following him.

Only when Lucia caught up did he match her stride and together they slowly made their way to the tap.

His friends could see him smirking at Lucia’s comment.
His face was relaxed and gentle.
It was different than when he was with Arista.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but I think he cares about Lucia.”

Ethan agreed with Christine.

“Look at the way he keeps Lucia in step.
The last time I walked with him, he told me to keep up on my own.
Is that discriminatory?”

“You think you and a cute girl like Lucia are the same? I wouldn’t, too.”

“What? Are you saying that because I’m not a girl?”

As Brian and Ethan rambled on, Bianca’s grave voice came through.

“No, Herwin doesn’t do that to other women, only to Lucia.”

She stiffened her usually smiling face into a stern line, now on the trail of two people she could barely see.

“Gee, I can’t believe it’s getting this late already, recess will be over soon, should we head in first?”

It was better to leave now for the next class.
Lucia said to go first, so the two of them would get there on their own.

They stood up, gathered their things, and were about to leave when Ethan noticed something.

“Huh? Herwin forgot his towel.”

“Didn’t he say you he’s going to wash his face earlier? Without a towel, he’ll have nothing to wipe with…….”

“He’ll wipe himself off.
Never mind, we’ll go first.”

While they were still trying to figure out what to do with Herwin’s towel, Bianca took it from Ethan’s hand.

“Give me that.
I’ll get it for him.”

“Huh? Are you sure? If you follow them, you’ll be late for class.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay, I’ll take one tardy for what it’s worth.
I’m sure the girls will freak out if he shows up wet without a towel.”

“Oh, sure.
I guess that could happen.”

“You won’t come with me then?”

Christine grabbed Bianca as she started to leave.

“No, it’s okay.
I’ll go by myself.
You guys go first.”

Bianca declined Christine’s favor and hurried after Herwin and Lucia.

* * *


Lucia filled a bucket with water from the tap.

“Herwin, have you washed up…….”

When Lucia finished, she turned to call out to Herwin, but couldn’t find the words.

Herwin was soaking not only his face but his hair as well, with streams of water trickling down his sharp jawline.

She swallowed hard as she watched him cool his head with his eyes closed.

“Did you just call for me?”

Herwin ruffled his hair and straightened his hunched back.

His red eyes seemed to be damp with moisture from his hair and face.

Red flags went off in her head.
Looking more dangerous than usual, Lucia hastily covered her view with her water bottle, avoiding Herwin’s gaze.

“Dah, are you all washed up… I’m done with my business…….”

Lucia was grateful that no one else was around.

Her face must have turned bright red.
Even the hand holding the water bottle had turned red.

She worked hard to keep her face from showing her crush on Herwin.

She’s the type of person who wears her emotions on her sleeve, so she’d done her best to keep her face in check and not blush, no matter how excited she gets… but right now, at this moment, she can’t.

Thank goodness she had an unspoken rule with Herwin.

Whenever he found her in a situation where she couldn’t control her emotions, he would either look away or change the subject.

While others might find this behavior a bit patronizing, Lucia felt that it was unique to Herwin.

If he had been embarrassed or uncomfortable at the sight of her reddened face, she would have felt even more ashamed and embarrassed.

Lucia pressed her forehead against the water bottle and waited for it to cool.

Taking a deep breath, she felt her chest calm down a bit before she found the courage to face Herwin.

“I’m sorry, I panicked, didn’t I?”

Her flushed face had finally subsided to a more presentable color.
Lucia forced a smile and turned to face Herwin, then froze.

Normally, he would have looked away and said, “It’s okay, let’s go,” but instead, Herwin was glaring at her through the bridge of his nose.

It was something he does whenever he was annoyed.

Herwin stalked over to Lucia.

“Uh, why, why are you coming at me?”

Lucia was taken aback by his uncharacteristic behavior.
Her barely calmed heart started beating again.

“Oh, don’t come!”

Lucia screamed, and Herwin’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t stop walking.

He was getting closer and closer, forcing Lucia to take a step back.


She hit the wall.
Her slender shoulders shook.
She opened her eyes slightly and saw Herwin’s face looming over her.

His face still wet from washing his face, looked very dangerous.

“What’s wrong…….?”

Her voice was trembling, and she sounded almost panicked.


Herwin’s rough fingers gently stroked Lucia’s cheek.
Lucia’s blue eyes widened.

‘What the hell!’

His touch was so affectionate, stroking her cheek like a lover.

Aside from holding hands as a child, she had never felt this kind of physical contact before.

“Was your face always red?”

“My face?”

“Yes, your face is still red.
It’s like a tomato.”

Herwin chuckled, softening the cold impression.
It was a rare laugh, one he only shared with his closest friends.

“Oh, it’s redder.”

“Zee, who are you kidding? You’re the reason I’m like this!”

Lucia screeched, feeling like he was making fun of her.

My heart is beating out of my chest.”

“……Do you still like me?”

Herwin asked, his eyes serious.
Lucia tried to calm her pounding heart.

“Uh, I like you so much…it’s crazy.”

It was her first confession since coming to the Academy.
His face stiffened slightly and he slowly pulled away from Lucia.

“I’m sorry.”

“Never mind.
I wasn’t trying to get an answer from you.
No, I mean, I’d love an answer, but…….”

Lucia herself could not understand what he was talking about.

“Don’t act like this unless you have feelings for me.
You’re just confusing people…….”

There was an uncomfortable silence.
Normally, a confession like this would have passed quickly and naturally… but today was different.

Herwin’s brow furrowed as if he was thinking about something, and when he was done, their eyes met.

Herwin’s hand stroked her cheek once more.
He gripped the soft flesh of her cheek.


“You shouldn’t blush anywhere.
Other people get the wrong idea.”

“My, when did I say that ermahone erm abhigd? (My, when did I say that I don’t blush anywhere but you?)”

Lucia, one cheek seized, muttered something unintelligible.
But Herwin understood everything she said and released his grip.


There was the faintest sound of a twig being crunched.
Herwin whipped his head around, and a figure appeared.

“Guys, I found you!”

It was Bianca coming out from behind the building.
She gasped for air as if she’d been running.

“Bianca! What are you doing here? Didn’t you go first?”

“I was going to, but Herwin forgot his towel.


Herwin stared at Bianca for a moment, but eventually took the towel she handed him.

As wary as Herwin was of Bianca, Lucia was just as nervous as he was.

‘Did she… hear?’

The timing of her appearance was so exquisite that she wondered if she had heard her confession.

“Guys, we should get going.
Our next class is history, and our history professor is a bitch.”

Contrary to her fears, Bianca was nonchalant, as if she knew nothing about it.

“What are you doing, let’s go?”

Bianca stepped between Lucia and Herwin and grabbed their arms.

As soon as her hand touched his arm, Herwin jerked it away.

Bianca and Lucia were stunned by this uncharacteristic human behavior.

“I don’t like other people touching me.”

Herwin lowered his voice and looked at Bianca coldly.
The height difference made him seem intimidating.

“Oh, no, I shouldn’t have been so insensitive.
I’m sorry, I won’t do that next time.”


“Come on, come on.
We’re going to be late.
Lucia, let’s go!”

Bianca quickly lightened the mood with her trademark cheerful smile.

She pulled Lucia’s arm, which she was still holding, and hurried off.

Herwin followed behind the two of them, running at an occasional pace.

* * *

Late at night, in the girls’ dorm.

As usual, Lucia was huddled in a room with her closest friends, talking about all sorts of things.

“Hmmm… I think I’m going to go to bed now.”

“What, already? It’s only nine o’clock?”

“I guess I’m just tired from all the moving around today, sorry, I’m going to go to bed.”

With one more person out of the picture, tonight’s gathering was starting to feel a little disjointed.

It wasn’t long before everyone was heading to their respective rooms.
Lucia stood up and headed for her room, as did everyone else.

“Hey, Lucia.”


Bianca approached her cautiously.

“I need to talk to you for a minute, do you have a moment?”

What is it?”

“Uhm… I can’t talk about it here, so let’s change places first?”

It was odd how she ended her sentence with a question.

As Lucia followed her, feeling nervous, she suddenly remembered what had happened this afternoon.

‘Did she hear us?’

There was no reason for Bianca to call her aside unless she had heard what she had confessed to Herwin.

Lucia bit her lower lip, chastising herself for her complacency, and cautiously followed behind Bianca like a sinner.

They arrived at a small storage room at the end of the hallway.

After a glance around, Bianca carefully closed the door and stepped into the depths of the warehouse.

“I’m sorry to drag you here.
I didn’t think anyone should hear us.”

“No, it’s okay.
What do you want to talk about?”

Despite her outward appearance of calm, Lucia’s insides were in chaos.

Lucia held out one last hope, thinking that Bianca had called her here to say something else.

“I’m so sorry, but I overheard you confessing to Herwin today.”

Lucia squeezed her eyes shut as she listened to Bianca’s careful words.


“I purposely pretended not to see it, because I thought it would be embarrassing for the two of you if something happened there.”

Bianca glanced at Lucia.

“Didn’t you say that you never really liked Herwin?”

Bianca was referring to the conversation they’d had today while sitting on the stairs.

Lucia was torn, wondering what to do.

It would be nice to pretend that she had misheard… but she couldn’t say that because she had heard the confession herself.

In the end, she decided to tell the truth.

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