The news that Elena Eboy was admitted to the Münuit Academy as the top student caused quite a stir. At first, people were curious as to who she was and who the Viscount of Evoy was. However, then they were surprised that a girl from an unknown family was able to beat Johann Pertan to the top.
“Miss Elena, congratulations on getting the top position.”
Contrary to their assumption that his pride was hurt, Johann Pertan smiled and greeted her first. His slightly folded eyes were friendly and his smile sweet.
“As expected. Johann is different.”
“That’s nothing new. Johann is famous for his personality. An angel sent from the Lord.”
Of course. I often hear that. John laughed in satisfaction inwardly at the flood of praise. Now, I just need to wrap up this conversation properly.
Johann paused at the brief and neat reply. This was not what Johann expected. Usually, the following words were praises for Johann’s greatness and character, or admiration for his huge generosity.
“Do you have anything else to say?”
However, Elena Evoy was different. That was it.
At that very moment, Johann’s strong ego was shattered.
Duke Pertan III had three sons and one daughter. Among them, Johann Eldorado Pertan was the fifth nephew of Hentart III, the current emperor of the Priston Empire. He was part of the royal family since birth.
Unlike some royal family members, whose blood was the only thing that made them worthwhile, Johann had the most talent among them. Whether it was swordsmanship, magic, or academics, he excelled in everything. All the teachers that taught him praised Johann, saying that the future of Duke Pertan was bright.
Johann’s excellence was imminent since the day he entered the academy. Münuit Academy, where talented people, between the ages thirteen to sixteen, from all over the Empire were admitted, Johann made a name for himself by winning the top position for four years straight.
The praise did not end there. Johann Pertan was such a handsome boy that it was said that the Lord must have sent him from the heavens.
Blond hair that glistened, as if sprinkled with gold dust, and breathtaking eyes that seemed to be filled with the sky, Johann was so beautiful that he could fascinate people with a single smile.
Rich background, extraordinary appearance, and amazing talent. Johann’s future was very bright.
“Oh my God. Did you hear her? How can you be so dry? Johann congratulated her first, but she didn’t seem grateful.”
“Johann is too nice.”
Until he met her, Johann was never treated like that before. Johann controlled his expressions and quietly clenched his teeth, hearing the conversation around him.
It was the name of the woman who instantly shattered Johann’s dream of winning the top position from admission to graduation, as he did at Münew Academy.
‘Where did you come from?’
Of course, it wasn’t like he thought that there would be no unexpected challenges. Unlike Münew Academy, where only imperialists could enroll, the Münuit Academy, which was a higher institution, accepted students from all over the continent. As the conditions were expanded, it was a matter of knowing without deep consideration that more diverse people would come to the academy.
But Johann wasn’t concerned about that. The children eligible to enter the Münuit Academy, that is, the imperial family or royalty of any country, the sons of noble families, or the children of wealthy merchants, would know by themselves if they were excellent. It would be laughable to say that they had no talent.
Furthermore, Johann was the best student Münew Academy ever had, scoring the first position throughout his years there. Johann never thought about his limits. At least so far.
‘Evoy family… It’s the first time I heard of this family.’
With his excellent memory, he remembers every family he encountered socially, but the name Evoy was really unfamiliar. Johann looked at Elena Evoy, pretending to gaze at the window.
Her hair that seemed almost black had a purplish tinge and from the side, her expressionless profile gave an impression of an intelligent kind of beauty. Her plain straight hair, which looked as if barely fixed by her maids, was slightly unkempt, but it was enough to be called neat.
Johann looked at Elena a little more closely. Straight back, eyes fixed on the book in front of her. Even though it was impossible not to feel the gaze that bore into her, her posture remained just as neat. It was as if she didn’t care about other people’s gazes at all.
“Johann, what are you looking at?”
“… It rained yesterday, but strangely the sky is clear today.”
“It’s truly romantic.”
What do I care about the sky? Johann was not really interested in nature or the weather. However, he was sensitive to how people perceived him. The Johann Pertan that people see was such a person; a benevolent, gentle and perfect person who has a high position yet cherishes every little thing.
He was able to maintain the mature image he had established during his time at Münew Academy in Münuit Academy too, because most of the students here were from the Münew Academy. No matter how many students from all over the entire continent were admitted, the Pristonian students still made up the highest proportion.
“Johann, have you decided on your major? Are you considering swordsmanship, too?
“Why wouldn’t he? His father, Duke Pertan, is the greatest knight in the Empire.”
“That’s right. Sir Isaac went straight to the Royal Guards as soon as he graduated.”
They continued to gossip about Johann without him. Johann’s eyes trembled slightly as soon as the name ‘Isaac’ was mentioned.
The second son Isaac Schweinell Pertan and the first son Noah Mason Pertan. The two great brothers who raised the name of Pertan were Johann’s light and shadow. Noah Mason Pertan, the successor of Duke Pertan, who five years older than Johann, had a greater age difference, so Johann was always compared to Isaac because they were one year apart.
Johann cannot outshine his brothers, but he has to make sure not to hurt the Pertan family’s reputation. That was Johann’s role, the third son of the family. Johann knew it well, but thinking about his brothers made him uncomfortable.
“Well, there are many fields to think about. I haven’t decided yet.”
“Then again, Johann is gifted in magic. You don’t have to worry about anything.”
That’s right. When sympathy began, praise always followed. Not only did they like Johann, but also wanted a connection to the prodigious family of Duke Pertan. Either way, Johann Pertan was a remarkable talent. Regardless of their gender, the students wanted to get close to him.
Johann laughed at every word about himself. There was once a time when he felt jubilant at people’s praises. However, through years of experience, Johann now knows that people are not always sincere in what they say. In this world, people would smile at your face and laugh at you behind your back.
“By the way, has anyone ever heard of Viscount Evoy?”
Before the class started, students gathered and chattered about something. Johann, who was taking out a textbook for preparation, focused on the interesting topic.
Behind him were the second daughter of Count Turla, the eldest son of Marquis Hansen, and the only child of the Count of Yorshy, all of whom came from aristocratic families.
“Not at all. I’ve never heard of it.”
“I’ve never heard of it either.”
They don’t know either. His last hope vanished. Then where on earth did she come from? Johann’s mind went back to the fundamental question.
“The first Viscount, Viscount Evoy, is better known by the name Root.”
“Root… is that a black magician?”
“He’s an antisocial geek who doesn’t like to be praised and even refuses higher titles. Of course, since he’s a self-made man, his family isn’t well known either.”
Just then, someone with a composed voice intervened in the conversation. It was Emily, a girl wearing glasses and neatly braided hair.
“Emily knows everything.”
“I’m just interested in the history of magicians. His story has many layers, so much about him is shrouded in mystery.”
So that’s what the family was like. Now, I know why I didn’t know about it. Johann, who was still eavesdropping on the conversation, paused. It was good to hear the explanation, but the conversation was louder than he thought. They were just facts, but it would not be pleasant for her to hear.
Johann glanced sideways just in case. Fortunately, Elena Evoy’s eyes were still on her book.
‘Dull or focused… Or that she has no interest in others. I think it’s one of the three.’
Or it could be all three. The pen spun round at the tip of Johann’s fingers.
Johann looked out of the window at the far away spire. The tallest spire in the empire was located in the center of the Imperial Palace, exactly facing the Münuit Academy. After graduating from the Academy, it was the place where Johann would work someday.
‘Becoming a knight wouldn’t be bad either, but I think going into administration might be helpful to father.’
It’s probably better for the second son, Isaac, to build his reputation as a knight. I won’t get anything by dividng father’s reputation between us. Such was the role of the third son of a family. No matter how good he is, there are boundaries he must keep.
There are many things he’s good at, but when asked what he wanted to do, he had nothing to say. But Johann always made a choice based on the decisions of his family and his position. He never regretted living like that for seventeen years.
No, Johann didn’t even know what regret was in the first place. That was because, among the many things his father taught, there was no such thing as regret.
“Remember what your role is in Pertan.”
“Keep that in mind—don’t try to stand out alone.”
“Remember your place, Johann.”
His father’s teachings that were more like brainwashing led Johann to always take a set path. So Johann couldn’t regret anything.
‘Maybe it’s because it’s a new semester. It’s frustrating.’
For some reason, I feel a little stuffy. Perhaps it was because he put the first button wrong. Johan Eldorado Pertan came second. It was natural to feel shaken after something impossible happened.
Eventually, Johann stormed out of the dormitory. He wanted to enjoy a walk under the bright moonlight. The enormous Münuit Academy fits its title of ‘The best educational institution on the continent’. The well-decorated garden was bigger if compared to that of a noble’s, but it could not compete with the Imperial Palace garden.
The buds blooming in early spring raised their heads shyly toward the moon. Sculptures all over the beautiful garden also added to the beauty. They were exquisite masterpieces that carved various symbols from the mythologies of the Priston Empire.
Johann presto regained his composure by appreciating the perfectly organized construction. The impeccably elegant and luxurious scenery was very familiar to Johann, and the familiarity was pleasing.
And then Johann, who was leisurely walking on the white marble path, enjoying the scenery, suddenly stopped his steps. Someone was holding onto a statue called the “Goddess of Love.”
Some people really believe in it. The goddess of love, Fiona, one of the many gods in the myth of the Empire’s founding. Legend has it that she can make love come true by holding her hand and praying. Johann knew that since the Münew Academy opened, quite a few students have secretly been hoping that the legend was true.
But actually seeing it was quite different from knowing the fact. I can’t believe someone actually believes such a legend. Once again, Johann shook his head at how pathetic it was. They’ll be embarrassed if they get caught, so I’ll just pretend I don’t know anything. After deciding with the last remaining mercy, he was about to head back.
Johann opened his mouth unwittingly.