Anthony Barco’s impression was more natural than Roman had expected. When he saw Roman looking completely different than before, his eyes widened, and he trembled.
“Roman! What the hell happened?!”
He had heard that Roman had changed through his servants just a while ago. However, he could never have imagined, even in his wildest dreams, that the change would be this dramatic. Thus, he looked at Roman with a genuinely surprised look.
Roman said, “I don’t understand it myself. When I lavishly used a lot of money to care for my appearance, nothing changed, but now it suddenly changed. Anyway, nice to see you after a long time.” Roman had said that casually, in a light and frivolous tone. It was mainly due to Hans’ advice, who had been observing his relationship with Anthony Barco.
‘It’s just me and Anthony Barco in this room.’ Roman looked around and took note of his surroundings. He noticed that Anthony Barco, who was enjoying the banquet with other noblewomen until recently, sent them all away when he heard that Roman had arrived. That was likely why the tabletop was really messed up. Not only were there so many bottles of wine lying around, but Roman also saw things he presumed to be women’s underwear. Due to that, he could easily guess what kind of person Anthony Barco was and how he played in his private room under the pretext of a banquet.
Nevertheless, Roman kept that to himself. As he had often dealt with the cunning squirrels of the Demonic Cult, he knew that a just approach wasn’t always the best method for dealing with such people.
‘Anthony Barco sent all the nobles out of the private room when his servant said I was here. That meant that what Anthony Barco would talk about were secrets someone else should never hear. And, I need to act at least a bit drunk to hear them.’
He laughed. While hoping that Anthony Barco remembered Roman, he drank a glass as soon as he sat down on the chair.
“Ahh, that’s good.” The alcohol that passed through his esophagus was suddenly eradicated. Contrary to his appearance, Roman was actually waiting for Anthony Barco to speak. He kept his calm, subdued eyes focused on him.
Anthony Barco—I don’t have enough information about him.
Through Hans, he understood how they usually acted with each other, but there was no way to find out the secret relationship between the two. That was why he kept his mouth shut. By waiting quietly, he was indirectly inducing his enemy to speak first.
Anthony Barco eventually opened his mouth, “It’s nice to see you after a long time. I guess I can take it positively. In fact, even back then, I really wondered what your intentions were. When you, who ignored our close friendship, told me you were going to marry Lawrence while we were in this private room… Haah. Honestly, no matter how secretive the banquet was, I didn’t think you would be like that.”
The banquet and the bed inside the private room; in a situation where fragments of the truth popped out of his mouth, Anthony Barco continued humorously, “So, does you attending this banquet mean that you accepted my offer? No, since you already proved your will by breaking the marriage with Lawrence in the first place, I don’t think I even need to ask for an answer. We’ll keep it a secret, so let’s discuss the marriage between Barco and Dmitry.”
The marriage with Barco! As soon as the keyword was mentioned, Roman’s mind suddenly removed a lock from something.
And with that, he accessed the original Roman Dmitry’s memories and was able to remember the past.
On that day, Roman was very nervous about attending Barco’s banquet.
“Come on, Roman Dmitry. Don’t be too nervous. Even though you betrayed Anthony Barco and accepted an arranged marriage with Lawrence, you can’t just avoid them forever, can you? So, let’s take this opportunity to get our relationship back to where it was.”
After hesitating countless times about accepting Barco’s invitation, he finally decided to meet Anthony in person to solve the problem.
The enemy was Barco. Nevertheless, he wanted to solve the problem as much as possible by talking as he didn’t want to wage war with them because of his petty desires.
Naturally, his father had turned completely hostile to Barco from the time he accepted an arranged marriage with Lawrence. However, Roman Dmitry felt in his young heart that there were still chances of the problems being solved through discussion.
And due to that, Roman went to the banquet. Unexpectedly, Anthony Barco welcomed Roman naturally, and as he relaxed, he drank a lot of alcohol without realizing it.
And… that was the true problem. His consciousness had ended there. He couldn’t remember anything after that. Later, when he woke up holding his head as if it would split due to the hangover, an utterly unfamiliar scene unfolded before his eyes—On the bed in the private room, there were women whose faces he had never seen before.
Roman was startled and ran outside, and Anthony Barco caught him. From that point onwards, Roman’s life plummeted.
Anthony Barco and Roman were usually promiscuous, so he thought Anthony would just let it pass, but he said with a face so ferocious it seemed as if he would eat Roman in a heartbeat, “Roman. I’m not going to say anything about the fact that you, who are about to get married by arrangement, are promiscuous with women. But now, do you know who you’re messing with? One of the women you were with was named Emily Barco. It wasn’t enough that you betrayed me by agreeing to marry Lawrence, but now you even dare to touch Barco’s woman?”
Emily Barco was Barco’s collateral. And, from that day onward, Anthony Barco often threatened Roman by using that fact as an excuse.
“Choose right now. Should I expose this fact and end your marriage, or will you re-establish our relationship by marrying a direct descendant of our family? I still feel anger at what you did, but if you become Barco’s man, I intend to contain my anger and forgive you.”
Roman, naturally, was in despair. He locked himself in his room as soon as he returned from the banquet and shouted at Hans to bring him a drink. It was a painful day for him. He was given two options, and both of them were the worst.
If the marriage with Lawrence was broken for touching Barco’s collateral, Dmitry’s honor would fall to the ground. Even then, Roman Dmitry, who knew that he had a reputation as a fool, wouldn’t be able to bear the wrath of his father, Baron Romero, for what had happened.
Nevertheless, Roman could not choose the other option either. He truly loved Flora. He was completely obsessed with her since the first day he saw her, and he asked his father, even though he knew what their family would have to pay dearly for it, for an arranged marriage with Flora.
And… he could not go to Flora and ask for a breakup, as that would mean he would inflict the disgrace of being a “divorced woman” on the woman he truly loved.
He couldn’t tolerate it anymore. He was in dire trouble. Anthony Barco was sending him letters from time to time to pressure him, and eventually, the decisive moment came—that day, Roman committed suicide.
He was definitely a weak human—A human who had not accomplished anything properly by his own strength and had no confidence to solve his own problems. Therefore, he believed that if he died, all problems would be solved naturally.
The death of the firstborn—that would be a big disgrace to the Dmitry family. However, it would still be better than being unilaterally divorced because of her son’s promiscuous behavior. He also thought that bereavement would still be a much better option for Flora Lawrence rather than being labeled a divorced woman.
Yes, it was pathetic.
At the memories of the past, Roman showed a disappointing smile.
‘It was an unfortunate reality.’
Roman’s reason for suicide wasn’t that great. Barco performed tricks that are common in politics, and Roman, a weak human being, gave up his life due to his fear of his father’s wrath and his sincerity towards Flora.
If only Roman had trusted his father and told him about it, Baron Romero would never have allowed his son to make the extreme choice of suicide. But… Roman didn’t know—how much his father loved him. So, he chose the burden of taking pills and committing suicide.
Eventually, he came back to reality. When he looked ahead, he saw Anthony Barco happily waiting for Roman’s answer.
When he had first heard the news of Dmitry’s breakup, Anthony Barco was on cloud nine.
‘You idiot! You really went and coommited suicide over something you couldn’t even remember.’
Roman’s memory was utterly different from the truth. It was true that he woke up on the same bed Emily and the other women were on in the private room. However, Roman hadn’t even touched them in the slightest.
Of course, Anthony thought they would do it for real. He thought the job would be easy for Roman, who usually led a promiscuous life, but Roman’s reaction was completely out of his expectations.
“I’m sorry, but I’m about to get married. Thus, I have no intention of hanging out with other women in the future.”
Anthony Barco’s face was completely twisted when he heard him saying that Roman would not have any other romantic relationships with others now—It was utterly out of his expectations. So, he planned. He made Roman get drunk and persuaded his powerless friend to believe he had slept with others.
For Roman, it was something he had no choice but to be defeated at. He didn’t know anyone who wasn’t promiscuous in the first place, but since he was also promiscuous, he firmly believed it was his fault.
And thus, Barco succeeded in threatening Roman. As planned, Roman chose to break up with Flora, and Anthony Barco knew what the finale would be now.
‘Now the Lawrence family is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Still, they will fight to the end to protect their humble pride. What if Barco and Dmitry get married by arrangement in this situation? The game is totally over for them. No force can withstand Barco and Dmitry’s combined power in the North-East area because they’re the powerhouses of the North-East.’
It’s perfect now.
Anthony Barco, who swallowed a laugh inwardly, spit out an eloquent discourse towards his puppet, Roman, “Roman, the combination of Barco and Dmitry is a huge topic that will send all of North-East into an uproar. No one will be able to surpass our stronghold, and you will also be able to claim unparalleled power in the North-East area. Also, as you know, my sister, whom you will marry, is a beauty whom everyone recognizes. For you, it’s an offer you have no reason to turn down.”
It was really sweet. It was a proposal that any man would be deceived by, and Anthony Barco thought that someone like Roman would, of course, accept it.
Nevertheless, Roman’s reaction was, once again, out of his expectations.
“I don’t think I need to accept the arranged marriage for that reason alone.”
Anthony Barco’s expression suddenly hardened. He thought he had heard something wrong for a moment, so he reminded him again, “You seem to have misunderstood, but this is not something you can reject. If you reject Barco’s offer, I will have no choice but to disclose what happened on this bed right here to the entire world. And then, what will be the status of Dmitry? You broke up with Lawrence, but people probably think the reason for the breakup is because you love other girls. So, think carefully—if you want to walk with your head lifted in the future.”
It was an undeniable threat. Nevertheless, even while facing Anthony Barco’s ferocious face, Roman smiled timidly without the slightest bit of agitation. He then crossed his legs and looked straight at Anthony Barco.
A few days ago, Roman had investigated the Barco family—What kind of place it was and how strong they were. And he also made a decision.
“I just said it. For that petty reason, Dmitry does not need to accept Barco’s offer.”
The North-East area—The strongest powerhouse in that land was Dmitry, not Barco.
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