The Rankings originated from the Valhalla Empire. Nestled at the southern tip of the continent, they created their own culture in the barren and closed-up environment surrounded by jungle. Valhalla is known as the Holy Land of Warriors. The people of Valhalla risked their lives to go to the afterlife, where blessings were given to those who died fighting with honor.
In particular, the people of the Valhalla Empire hold a coming-of-age ceremony for children in which they deal with monsters regardless of their gender. They are a fairly aggressive nation where the parents are happy if their children win the fight, even if it means being crippled afterward.
Valhalla—They always want to prove their power. They don’t just end a battle with who won against whom, but even go so far as to document the results and decide who was the strongest. That was how Rankings began. At first, it was simply a culture within Valhalla, but as it became an Empire, the culture of the Rankings spread throughout the continent.
The Rankings of Valhalla—They were organized with evidence, and even the Cairo Kingdom had their own top 100 listed, as well.
Rank 49, Homer—Obviously, his appearance was bound to be shocking.
‘I can’t believe Barco recruited ‘The Wandering Swordsman’ for the Battle of Great Warriors.’
Viscount Lawrence looked as if he was in despair.
The Wandering Swordsman—No one in Cairo was unaware of his fame. Homer was an A-class mercenary, just like Berge; however, unlike Berge, who built his reputation with a group, he was a one-man army. The reason he was known as ‘The Wandering Swordsman’ is because he enjoyed fighting the strong while wandering around the kingdom by himself. As a 3-Star swordsman, Homer built a reputation through numerous duels and achieved the 49th rank in the Rankings—That was his story.
Naturally, Viscount Lawrence had to be concerned. Homer recently went against a 4-Star swordsman who was known as the 30th Ranker. It is publicly known that Homer lost the fight; however, there were rumors that at the end of the duel, he reached enlightenment and progressed one step ahead—4-Star. The news of Homer reaching 4-Star struck the kingdom like lightning. Everyone wanted to recruit a 4 Star, and thus, Homer’s value skyrocketed. That was who Homer was. And now, he appeared here—in the Battle of Great Warriors.
Even if it was the Homer of the past, he was enough to make many people walk away. However, the current Homer was like an undefeatable swordsman for them.
Instantly, the atmosphere changed. People unknowingly checked someone’s face at that time, even though no one had told them to. Yes, they checked on Roman Dmitry. Even in the current situation, he only looked curious.
Lawrence’s warrior, who will face Homer, will definitely die—That was what people assumed. They thought Roman Dmitry would pull out a white flag and run away.
Roman didn’t know who Homer was. However, regardless of the reaction of others, he understood Homer was strong.
‘This is fun.’ He smiled.
This is why life is unpredictable.
Roman had earlier investigated Barco’s actions through the Intelligence Guild and discovered they had borrowed money from the Golden Bank to hire the Berge mercenaries. That was all the information revealed to Roman. With Roman’s current ability, he couldn’t manage to know about the 30% of the forces Barco had kept hidden, and the day for battle had dawned just like that.
And now, Barco showed the hidden 30% power. Honestly, it was more than 30%. Not only did they receive enough money to rent a Flare, but they even went ahead and bought a 4-Star swordsman.
‘If I had dealt with the demons for information warfare of some sort like this, perhaps my throat would have blown away without even being able to put up a decent fight. However, that will not happen with Barco. Just as the opponent hid the power, they, too, don’t know what kind of existence I am.’
Before the war, Roman made sure he was fully prepared so that there would be no problem even if he met someone strong. He pounded the steel countless times in the forge, and trained himself constantly, as well.
Therefore, it was fun—A chance to fight someone strong. If he was strong enough to make people go pale, then he was someone who was suitable to fight him.
It was time to introduce himself. However, just as he was about to move forward, someone grabbed Roman’s hand.
It was Flora. Just like Viscount Lawrence, she knew they had fallen into a trap when she discovered Homer would be fighting in the 2nd match.
“Your opponent is Homer, who is ranked 49th in the kingdom. Besides, he is no simple ranker; He has become 4-Star and is considered stronger than the 30th rank in the kingdom. Do you think you can beat someone like that? This plan has failed. You asked Lawrence to make a sacrifice, and now it is our turn to pay the price for that variable out there. So, step back. If you abstain, you get to keep your life. And I will earnestly pray that Lawrence’s knight will win a victory in the next duel.”
Flora—Her feelings for Roman were complicated. Although Roman was someone she loathed for his selfish desires, she couldn’t let the only person who helped Lawrence die here. This is a battle they will be defeated in. Since Homer had no reason to spare Roman, Flora wanted him to back out beforehand. Even if Roman surrendered with a white flag, no one would blame him.
“I don’t want to.”
Roman put her hand away.
And just when he was about to walk again, Flora cried out, “Then you will die! This is something Lawrence has to handle. There is no reason for you to risk your life here!”
He halted his steps and looked at Homer. That man—his attitude showed that he thought he was the best. From the first time Roman saw Homer looking down on others, his desire to win became even more intense than it originally was.
“That’s my choice. I don’t need to explain everything to you, so do not get in my way from now on.”
He spat that out. He didn’t know what expression Flora had. His relationship with her ends here.
Roman stepped ahead. Facing Homer, who seemed interested in the situation, he said, “I am Roman Dmitry, representing Lawrence.”—The declaration of a warrior. Now, he could not step back.
The flag signaled the start.
There was no aggressiveness like in the first fight. Neither Homer nor Roman rushed in and waited for the opponent to make the first move.
‘I can’t believe I have to deal with this little one.’
Homer wasn’t too interested in this fight. He heard rumors. The ridiculed fool of Dmitry’s family had subjugated the Blood Fang and intervened in this war, as well. Now, he was someone who had to be evaluated differently. If he had the power to destroy the Flare, then he would have to be a 2-Star swordsman who can use Aura. However, that didn’t attract Homer’s attention.
‘If it wasn’t for personal reasons, I would have challenged Fernando right away.’
Fernando was a 4-Star swordsman. He is the person known as the gatekeeper that guarded the 30th rank. Homer, who was defeated in the fight with that man, had now risen to the level of 4-Star. Now, he had the strength to face Fernando. Homer was preparing for it, but due to the request of the mercenary guild to which he belonged, it got delayed.
“Homer, I agreed to take the large sum of money that comes with participating in a single battle in the Battle of Great Warriors of two families. I know you were looking forward to the fight against Fernando, but consider our position. The opponent is the Lawrence family, who doesn’t even have a 3-Star swordsman. It will just be a bland fight for you.”
There was no reason to refuse. Homer didn’t receive a proper mission after getting his A-class mercenary badge. He just wandered around hoping for skilled people to come and fight him, and would take any funds he collected to the guild he was in. It was a give-and-take situation. Homer does what he wants, and the mercenary guild uses his name. As Homer reaching 4-Star was a hot topic, he couldn’t turn away from the earnest request of the guild leader. However, it was really boring—The fact that he came all the way to the outskirts to deal with someone he hadn’t even heard about.
‘Let’s just end this quickly.’
He had no intention of doing his best. He would just do enough for the payment he had taken. Homer slammed the ground and swung his sword at the opponent.
It was swift. For Homer, it was a light movement, but it was nothing like that for normal people. Rankers were beings considered out of the world. People thought Roman wouldn’t be able to handle the attack and would get his throat slashed.
The attack was blocked.
When Homer immediately took a step ahead and launched another attack, Roman responded without stepping back.
In an instant, they exchanged blows. Homer thought that a 3-Star was enough to take down his opponent, but Roman showed no signs of being pushed back even when his sword was coated with Aura. It was absurd. Roman’s sword had such a weak Aura that he doubted if it was truly Aura, but even that was blocking his attacks.
‘Look at this.’
It was strange. Seeing the bizarre situation, his interest in Roman arose. He was curious about how Roman developed his Aura, and for the purpose of testing, Homer raised his Aura even more. Still, his power wasn’t exhausted. With this kind of power, he decided he could take down Roman.
His insides were boiling—It was the mana raging, and then, Aura exploded on his sword; it was a skilled 3-Star swordsman’s Aura to end Roman’s life in an instant. It was an Aura different from Janson’s. While Janson was a swordsman who managed to reach 3-Star, Homer was someone who had gone beyond 3-Star.
At that moment, everyone there looked wide-eyed. Due to Homer’s current appearance, they thought Roman was done for.
And at that moment,
Homer shouted ferociously.
And when Homer looked at Roman, he just saw Roman staring at him with cold eyes.
“Try stopping this.”
My vision?—That was Homer’s last thought.
The thought of fighting a 4-Star swordsman was exciting. His blood boiling, Roman thought he would finally have a proper fight after a long time. However, the reality was different. Homer didn’t use his full strength in the fight, and although it could be because he didn’t know his opponent, it was still disrespectful.
‘I am happy, though.’
He could understand Chris’ situation—Both parties had their own reputation.
However, Roman’s opponent kept ignoring him despite knowing he was different from his past. That was something Roman couldn’t understand. In a situation where they risk lives, how can they put blind trust in their skills when they don’t even know their opponent?
He didn’t feel good. Roman had fully prepared for the match. The Infernal God Art was laid as the foundation for the Heavenly Demon God Art, and now it was possible for him to use the first three moves of Heavenly Demon Sword Technique. Nevertheless, he was still lacking. Even though he was in a situation where he hadn’t recovered even 10% of his actual power, Roman was constantly training to grow.
However, Homer looked down on him. Roman didn’t come here to obtain other people’s approval. He was here to fight Homer as a swordsman, and to get his revenge on Barco.
Remembering the furnace where he made his weapon, he changed his mind.
If the other person looks down on me, then I don’t need to bother drawing out the battle.
Roman raised his mana. It was different from his opponent’s. Roman’s mana was like a gentle wave, and when it wrapped around the sword, it even absorbed the mana in the surroundings.
‘Heavenly Demon Sword Technique; Third Move.’
The Heavenly Demon Sword Technique has no form. Whoever wields the sword does an anomalous attack that cannot be predicted by the opponent, and its power increases multiple times depending on the user’s movements. It is a martial art that conquered all of Murim.
Roman chose to do his best. If Homer survived this attack, he would acknowledge Homer.
“Try and stop this.”
And then, the sword was swung.
That was the end. Homer didn’t respond. He could only stay in the realization that Roman was attempting an attack. Like that, his sword and body were split simultaneously.
With just one hit—just as it was with Berge, the match was decided in an instant once again.
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