The eastern garden of Stella Academy was a place frequented by students, but due to its vast space, there were secluded spots with few people around.

Hong Bi-Yeon sat on a bench in a small pavilion, where the presence of people was rare, and covered her face with both hands. Her lips were bitten so hard that blood trickled down.

"Ah, really. Should I just kill him?"

She wanted to cut Edmon's arrogant throat right away.

However, she couldn't do that, which only made her burn inside even more.

Hong Bi-Yeon knew.

There was a high possibility that Edmon's interference and provocation had political motives. Edmon Atalak probably hoped that Hong Bi-Yeon herself would not intervene.

Surely, he must have some understanding of the value of the "Item" business. Even if a commoner like Baek Yu-Seol said something negative, he might have believed that the national power of the Adolveit Kingdom could trade as much as they wanted.

Or... he might be undervaluing the Item business more than expected.

Anyway, the "Item" was not immediately important to Edmon Atalak. It was more important to prevent Hong Bi-Yeon from making connections and growing stronger through other contacts.

Even if that contact was just a commoner.

"... I wasted a good opportunity."

Baek Yu-Seol was talented.

And a very unique talent at that. To find such talent within Stella Academy, it would have been comparable to overwhelming competitors like Mayuseong or Haewonryang.

Talents should be recruited widely, and there should be no discrimination based on social status.

That was what her older sister, who passed away when she was young, always said.

Hong Bi-Yeon still didn't fully understand the meaning of those words.

However, she thought that since all nobles and commoners below the royal family were equal, it didn't matter who served her.

So, she solely wanted to make Baek Yu-Seol her own person based on his abilities.

Anger surged to the brink. Her hair swirled as she engulfed the eastern garden of Stella in flames, but luckily, she managed to maintain her composure until the very end, and no major accidents occurred.

At the same time, a sense of melancholy filled her heart.

‘What can I do? Am I incapable of standing on my own?’


"Ahaha, really?"


"As expected. I didn't think Eisel would be like that."

The sound of girls chatting could be heard nearby. Hong Bi-Yeon absentmindedly raised her head and looked in that direction.

Girls were gathered on a beautiful octagonal pavilion illuminated for the students, chatting and gossiping. It seemed to be a recent trend among the students, and they resembled a study group of some sort.

In the midst of that, Eisel Morph was involved. She was sitting next to a girl named Hariren, mingling with the other girls.

It was a different sight from the beginning of the semester when she couldn't get along with anyone.

"Ahem, of course, at that time...!"

When Eisel spoke, smiles bloomed on the faces of the girls.

She was a peculiar child.

Surely, as the successor of the "traitor Morph," she should have fallen.

Yet, she struggled, survived, endured, and crawled like a worm, eventually gaining admission to Stella Academy… she gradually shone brightly as she regained everything she had lost.

Like the sun.

Around Hong Bi-Yeon, there were only children gathered for political purposes. She, too, couldn't break free from that restraint and had nothing she could do freely.

That child had everything that she lacked.

Even Baek Yu-Seol.

Hong Bi-Yeon silently stood up and looked up at the sky.

Despite feeling melancholy, the sky was unusually clear and refreshing today, completely oblivious.

She quietly took out a ginseng candy from her pocket. It wasn't the expensive candy she usually ate but a cheap ginseng candy that Baek Yu-Seol had casually obtained from the ration.

She put it in her mouth and chewed it slowly. Whether someone gave it to her or not, it tasted incredibly awful.

While rolling the ginseng candy on the tip of her tongue, she pondered slowly...

"... Duke Atalek sharply refused, saying he wouldn't supply it to Adolveit?"

‘Why did he say that?’

"Wait a moment."

There was one fact that she missed.

He... was a commoner.

Regardless of his actual "identity," externally, he was a commoner.

For such a commoner to dare make such a reckless statement to Duke Atalek was equivalent to saying that he would personally ruin his own academy life.

Even if one exclude the name of the Atalek family, he was a senior in the third year, and the hierarchy of Stella was clear, so it was absolutely unacceptable to disrespect a senior.

‘Why did he do that?’

‘Because he wanted to give him a taste of humiliation and disregard?’


‘He didn’t have such a childish personality. If he had such a personality from the beginning, he wouldn't have stayed quiet in the academy until now.’

‘Baek Yu-Seol is quite intelligent, and whenever he sincerely does something, there’s always a reason. It will be the same this time as well.’

"Could it be...?"

Perhaps he knew how the Adolveit regime worked?

‘No, that's impossible. It's a ridiculous thought. How much would a mere commoner know about the regime? It doesn't make sense.’

To create such a situation, there were too many things that one must know beforehand. And those things were information that couldn't be discovered just based on the status of a commoner.

‘But the situation fits so perfectly and naturally. There is no reason for a commoner to meddle with the Duke Atalek. He would never recklessly provoke him. If that one statement…’

If he really saw through the situation in Adolveit and if there was any political significance implied...


Hong Bi-Yeon's heart raced.

The thought of being able to give that damn son of a bitch a punch and feel satisfied crossed her mind.

However, at the same time, an unknown emotion kept digging into her heart. If her thoughts were correct, Baek Yu-Seol would undoubtedly have done such a thing to help her.

But at what cost...

He would taste hell in his future academy life. He dared to confront a senior in the third year, and that too, a member of the Atalek family.


Through this incident, there would be no apparent gain for him to go back to.

Her chest grew cold.