Since a few years ago, the Duke of Berg had been working hard to build a port in Libourg, which bordered the West Sea.
If there was a port there, it could dramatically increase trade within the continent.

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The problem lay within the people.
The families living in the Libourg area for a long time did not want their hometown to be developed as a port.

At the risk of losing their livelihoods, they desperately opposed the construction of the port.
But it was impossible for a small town to fight against the Duke of the Empire.

The duke enticed the young people to move to another city, telling them, “If you move to another place, I will let you live a richer life.” Then, he pushed ahead with the construction of the port with only the elderly remaining in the village.
The villagers could not even put up a fight and were forced to forfeit what they had.

Attending the opening ceremony of the port only meant one thing.

As the next Duke of Berg, Felix should also strive to expand and pioneer the family’s land even if someone lost their homes and was kicked out in the process.

But Felix didn’t share his father’s outlook.

In his eyes, the Berg family’s land and business had already reached the limits that one family could manage.
To expand the land and do business was nothing but greed.

He immediately wrote a reply to the Duke on the back of the letter.
It was a brief statement that he would not attend the opening ceremony as the Academy exams were coming soon.

“Felix.” Adrian, who had been quietly watching, called him out.
“Father won’t stay still.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Felix immediately replied.

“I’m saying this because I’m worried about you,” Adrian said, concerned.
“Father never reverses his decision.
I’m sure he’ll call you in by other means.”

“Adrian,” Felix called him softly to ease his worries.
“Do you remember our grandfather’s last breath?”

Their grandfather, the previous duke, Duke Robben Berg, died in a carriage –while driving out the natives of the north and conquering their lands– due to overworking.

Before his death, he had a mountain of work that he could not handle on his own.
Even with such an emaciated appearance, he traveled all over the continent with greed filling his eyes.

“If I live as our father wants, I’ll be like that someday,” Felix responded bitterly and sealed the letter with the reply.

* * *

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Weekend morning.

Felix had woken up early and prepared to go to the library.
He was the only one in the room.

Adrian left for home as soon as the last class ended the night before.
On weekends when there was no student council work or book club activity, he would faithfully go to see their mother.

Felix left the dormitory with excitement filling his steps.
He had never thought that going to study for the exam would be this enjoyable.

Even the weather was clear, as if representing his state of mind.

The fog that had covered the campus for the past few days had disappeared, and the long-awaited warm sun finally emerged.
The autumn sun was shining down over the brightly colored campus.

When Felix arrived at the library, the seats were only half full.
There were still about two weeks left before the test began, so the other half of the students seemed to have decided to enjoy the warm weekend sunshine instead of preparing for the test.

“Felix-sunbae.”

Standing in front of the library, Felix turned toward the sound.
Lucy stood on the stairs, her arms laden with books.
She came down carefully and stood in front of him.

The books Lucy was holding shook precariously as if they would collapse at any moment.
Felix quickly took over the books.

“This… Are you going to do it all today?” Forgetting to give her a greeting, he looked at the huge number of books in surprise.
“Aren’t you overdoing it?”

At his words, Lucy tilted her head and said, “What? This is yours, sunbae.”

“Mine?”

“Hurry up and come.”

Lucy pushed him into the library without delay.

Some of the students sitting by the entrance glanced at them with curious eyes as they entered.
And when Lucy didn’t go to the book return counter as usual but took a seat next to Felix at the window table, they whispered to each other.

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As Lucy organized the books on the table, Felix shot them a fierce look.
Then the students quickly lowered their eyes.

“Sunbae, here.”

Lucy selected some of the books she had brought and spread them out in front of Felix.
There were bookmarks in several places where he had to read.

“How did a sophomore know the scope of the 3rd year exam?”

“I asked a sunbae in the book club,” Lucy answered clearly.

As she had prepared this much, Felix’s report card seemed to have left a stronger impression on her than he had imagined.

“Shall we get started?” Lucy said.
She was determined.
Then she added, clenching her small fist.
“You can do it!”

Lucy, who immediately opened the book, began to concentrate at a frightening speed.
With that enthusiasm, Felix couldn’t even dare to talk to her.

He looked down at the book in front of him.
It was something he already knew.
But since Lucy was so eager to help, he felt he had to show that he was studying hard too.

Countless times, Felix adjusted his posture and began to read the book quietly.

After a while.

Lucy tapped Felix’s arm.
She was staring at him when he looked back, her forehead wrinkled.
“Sunbae, are you reading that? Why aren’t you turning the pages?” she asked, whispering.
“You have to read it carefully.
I will ask you later.”

Felix smiled at her serious expression.

Lucy’s frowned even more.
“Why are you smiling? I’m going to ask something hard.
Something really hard.”

“Okay, I got it.”

Felix still couldn’t get the smile off his lips, so he pretended to read the book for a while.

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As if struck by lightning, thoughts came into Felix’s head that had nothing to do with the book’s contents.

How cute is Lucy studying!

He slowly lifted his head and glanced at Lucy, who was so focused on studying.
She concentrated too much on the book that her smooth forehead was slightly wrinkled.
Her tightly closed lips looked cuter and fiercer than ever.

What about your hands?

Felix’s gaze moved down, and he began to observe her hand quietly.

Her hand, which was constantly writing something on her paper, looked smooth and soft at first glance.
Moreover, it was so small that it seemed like he could hold both her hands with only one hand.

Even the letters written by her small, delicate hands were round and adorable, resembling the owner.
The constant size and spacing seemed to show her usually calm personality.

Felix kept glancing and peeking at Lucy’s letters filling the paper.
He found everything about her fascinating.

Every time he found something new about her, his heart stirred like the flowers under the breeze on a spring day.

Lucy’s hand, which had been moving constantly, stood still.
Then she slowly raised her head.
“Do you have anything to say?”

Felix quickly lowered his gaze.
“No.
I won’t disturb you.” He then pretended to read his book again.

Soon Lucy turned to her notebook.
The crunching sound of the pen rubbing against the paper came back pleasantly.

However, Felix’s gaze still couldn’t stay in one place and wandered around the page.
His desire to study had since long gone.
In fact, what he was curious about was not in the book.

What Felix really wanted to know was not when the Epher dynasty collapsed or when the Verus Empire unified the continent.
He was more curious about what Lucy liked and what she was thinking now.

He wanted to know more about Lucy.

Amid his blank stare, Felix scribbled something in the corner of the notebook as if he had already made up his mind.
Then he slowly pushed the notebook towards Lucy, showing her what he had written.

[What do you like?]

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Lucy looked closely at the question.
She furrowed her eyebrows slightly.
She was contemplating his intention in asking the question out of the blue.

After a while, she wrote something down under it and handed it to Felix.

[My grandmother’s meat pie.]

Ah.
Meat pie made by Lucy’s grandmother.
That’s good.

Felix nodded, even though he had never tried it.
Smiling happily, he wrote something else under Lucy’s answer.

[What else?]

Again, Lucy looked down at the question he had written.
Soon her hand moved.

[Autumn.]

Autumn? I hate autumn the most.
Felix thought.
He had suffered from Maram vine allergy every year.

However, since it was Lucy’s favorite season, the autumn scenery outside the window seemed more beautiful than ever.

I’m going to like autumn from now on.

Taking his eyes off the window, Felix grabbed the pen again.
This time, he wrote down quite a few questions.

[What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite animal? What else do you like besides meat pie? Ah, something you can buy and eat in town.
What is Colin Connor most afraid of?]

After thinking for a moment, Lucy wrote one sentence —it was too short to answer that many questions.

[Sunbae! Hurry up and read your book!]

Lucy gave him a pretty firm look, so Felix had no choice but to put away their notes.

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