Just as expected, when the first applicant suffered injuries, cowards like Morrison hurriedly turned away.
“I will not take this barbaric test!”
“What do you mean? Even if an arrow is stabbed in my body, I should just endure it? If it makes me crippled, will he take responsibility for my life? I don’t know what the hell he was thinking while deciding to conduct a test like this, but I’ll just give up here.”
“I will give up, as well. He isn’t even a noble within the central government; I don’t want to give my life for Roman Dmitry.”
Many people expressed their intention to give up simultaneously. However, Chris did not impose any sanctions on the people who were complaining and leaving. Before starting the test, Roman had told him not to force anyone.—We need people who will be genuinely loyal, rather than just idiots who are greedy for a reward like Kevin’s. It is human nature for those kinds of people to betray us as soon as they’re in trouble. However, if we can identify their fundamental nature and qualities at first, we can quickly identify people and pick those who are at least worth our time.
The test, naturally, continued. More than a hundred people had left the exam hall, but not everyone expressed their intention to give up.
“I am Henderson.”—A man from Lawrence; he came out with a sad face. As a mere commoner, he rarely risked his life. However, today, he bit his lips while trembling, fearing death. Honestly, he wanted to give up on the exam right away, just like everyone else. However, when he thought of Roman punishing the Blood Fang for harassing Dmitry’s people, Henderson recalled how determined he was to pass this test.
Every once in a while, everyone dreams of something. And as a man, he dreamed of swearing allegiance to someone like Roman. It’s not that he was trying to achieve something great, but just remembering what Roman had said back then gave him the strength to continue this test.
“First shot.” The archer shot the arrow.
Despite seeing bloodshed in the first test, he calmly aimed the arrow—as if nothing had happened.
Henderson’s eyes widened. He looked like he was trembling. Nevertheless, the archer grinned and shot an arrow.
Henderson took a deep breath. He noticed an arrow had pierced the plate, just 5 cm away from his face. His heart was pounding, and as he was thinking of whether or not he should give up, the archer shot the next arrow.
He was late.—He couldn’t even open his mouth. And rather than allowing him to proceed with the test with great courage, the archer shot the next arrow while Henderson was hesitating.
It seemed as if the time had passed in an instant. When Henderson confirmed that the last arrow had been safely nailed to the plate rather than his own body, he lost strength in his legs and collapsed down on the spot. A cold sweat was running down his forehead. As Henderson looked up ahead with a pale face, Chris said indifferently, “Henderson, pass.” Seriously, it was a test he never wanted to take again.
The number of successful applicants was higher than expected. Out of the 400 people who had applied1, 120 people passed the first test. Naturally, most of them were shivering like Henderson, but some had passed the first test confidently. All successful candidates gathered in one place.
Roman stepped forward. “You all have passed the first test. You all have proven your worth as warriors with this test; however, the number of people I want is 30. Therefore, I will test you once more through the second test.”
Actually, if any ordinary person had watched the test takers, they would’ve decided who was more valuable at a glance—Lucas, who finished the test while smiling, was more valuable than Henderson, who was shivering with a pale face. In fact, the two differed from each other in their power too.
However, by Roman’s standards, the difference between the two was not particularly special.—Although Henderson felt fear, he did not leave his place while the three arrows were fired, and what Roman wanted to confirm through the first test was if one had the courage to suppress fear on their own.
Everyone feels fear. And rather than being worn out and insensitive to fear on the battlefield, it is more impressive to see how they handle their fear.
‘The people gathered here have their own circumstances.’
The people who had gathered here were those who wanted to enlist even after hearing the stigma of Dmitry’s Fool. Their reasons for wanting to support him were, naturally, diverse.—They could be people like Henderson, who witnessed Roman’s appearance in Lawrence and were shocked and wanted to follow him. And there would also be people like Lucas, who were drawn in by rumors and curiosity, or simply liked the rewards for an enlisted soldier.
Everyone had their own reason. Nevertheless, Roman wanted to find the hidden gems. Regardless of their purpose and level of strength, he needed people who were born with the heart of a beast—Those who would feel awe at their liege, not fear.
Therefore, strength was not an absolute evaluation criterion for this enlistment. Lucas must have possessed outstanding skills that earned him the title of a B-class mercenary; however, Roman was confident that he could develop a soldier like Lucas with his teachings at any given time.
It was a matter of choice—Would he accept Lucas and turn him into a stronger soldier, or would he accept Henderson and help him grow him step by step? Roman carefully looked at the applicants. While talented people like Lucas showed confidence in passing, others lacked that confidence.
‘What I want to confirm from them now is their attitude towards me. Only those who know who I am and feel awe, not fear, can dream of staying by my side in the future.’
When he met Kevin and even when he met Chris, Roman always proved his worth in the same way. The world of survival of the fittest—In that harsh world, in order to rule over someone’s head, one needed visible power, not sweet words.
Absolute domination—Roman, as always, longed for blind loyalty.
“From now on, we will proceed with the second test. The process is simple. Prove your worth by sparring with me. I don’t expect you to win. If there are people who can stand up against me for even a single minute, regardless of the reason, they will pass the entire test, and I will give them significant rewards.”
Roman’s speech was, once again, absolutely arrogant. At first, everyone was confused. A whopping 120 people would take the second test. They acknowledged that Roman was a talented person, but even if he dealt with every one of them for a single minute, the test would still take 120 minutes. What did he mean when he said if you hold out for a minute, you’ll pass? People reacted as if it were absurd.
Roman was, once again, absolutely arrogant. If the remarks he just made were only empty words, they wouldn’t be able to hide their disappointment in Roman. Nevertheless,
“I will take the test first.”
A person that looked to be a mercenary stepped forward proudly. With a muscular physique approaching 2 m and a face covered in scars, it was evident that he had experienced harsh struggles on the battlefield. He was also the kind of person who passed the first test proudly.
Nevertheless, as much as he liked Roman’s self-confidence, he was furious at his remarks. ‘If I hold out for a minute, you’ll let me pass? Roman Dmitry’s confidence is very high. If Roman really subjugated the Blood Fang alone, it would mean he has significant power, but even so, it’s impossible to defeat me in just one minute. I will prove my worth by passing the exam on my first attempt.’
He stood in front of Roman. Seeing the huge difference in their physiques, people looked at Roman and the applicant alternatively.
“Take this sword.” Chris threw the sword at the mercenary. It was a wooden sword that wasn’t lethal, and compared to the size of the applicant, it was small enough to look like a toy.
“Start.” Chris gave the signal.
And the man, who had been waiting for the signal, wriggled his gigantic muscles and slammed his feet into the ground as soon as Chris said the word. Clearly, he didn’t intend to pass the exam by holding on for one minute. He knew he might become one of Roman’s soldiers in the future, but he needed to clarify his position and show Roman what kind of person he was.
There was no mercy in his hands. Seeing the sword being fiercely swung toward Roman’s neck, people naturally thought Roman would be pushed back by the sheer force of the attack.
Only the sound of wind blowing could be heard after the attack. The sword wielded by the man had only affected Roman’s hair, and Roman had evaded the man’s sword with a single light and swift movement. For a moment, Chris shook his head. Having had the direct experience of having a duel with Roman, he knew how threatening a move to nullify an attack with a single step was.
And at that moment, the man’s face was stained with embarrassment. He hurriedly retrieved the sword and tried to attack Roman once again, but before he could react, his world turned upside down.
As Roman stepped forward, the man’s balance was broken, and his massive body fell to the ground. Now, there was nothing more to see. The moment the man lifted his head and tried to check where Roman was, Roman suddenly pointed a sword at his neck.
That was it. The fight had already finished. And people finally realized that this test would be incomparably more difficult than the first one.
Nevertheless, people thought—Even if Roman is strong, by the time he reaches the 60th round, his stamina is sure to be exhausted. After that, there will be no choice, and everyone should pass one after another. Thus, people postponed their fights. They wanted to somehow manage the time and grab the title of being a successful applicant. However, the results were utterly different from their expectations.
“…This can’t be possible.”
The 60th contender—He also fell out with a single strike. People rubbed their eyes with both hands as the challenger collapsed helplessly, confirming what was happening in front of them was indeed real.
‘Is Roman a monster?’
Nobody could hold on for 30 seconds, let alone one minute. People who were confident in their abilities fought Roman proudly, but by the time they came to their senses, the sky was in front of them. They got goosebumps and realized the rumors were indeed true—Roman Dmitry was strong enough to subdue the Blood Fang with his own strength, and there was no trace of the one known as Dmitry’s Fool.
His attitude towards people, his overwhelming power, and his charisma that grabbed people’s hearts just from the sound of his voice showed what kind of person Roman was. They remembered what he had said first and realized it—Roman is a predator. In a world of survival of the fittest, he’s a predator who can decide others’ lives at his own will.
People’s hearts raced. Looking at Roman’s face, they thought what he had said earlier would really come true—“If you pass the test and become mine, you will be able to live your life as a predator who can make their own choices and decide their own life. I, Roman Dmitry, promise you that.”
Living independently, without any constraints—That was sweeter than anything else in the world. Then, people faced reality. And finally, their eyes changed to a serious look. ‘I need to pass this test somehow. Becoming one of Roman’s people is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will never come again.’
Their instincts told them clearly—Hold on to the rope that has fallen from the sky, even if you need to hold onto it with your teeth. Right now, Roman is still regarded as Dmitry’s Fool. Thus, right now is the perfect opportunity to get on the sleeping dragon’s back.
“Yes, I am coming.”
The 61st applicant, Lucas, headed for the stage.
This is the number of applicants who were left after deducting those who left the exam hall because they were afraid of dying or getting injured. ↩️
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