The rumors spread incredibly fast. The shocking news was that Lawrence defeated Barco in the Battle of Great Warriors. When people from the North-East region of the kingdom got together, they naturally gossiped about what happened in Lawrence.
“Really, it must be frustrating for Barco. They made a huge fuss and then lost to Lawrence.”
“But is that really true? They are saying that Roman attacked the enemy’s rear alone and slaughtered hundreds of their soldiers at once.”
“Of course, it’s true! You know my relatives are natives of Lawrence, right? I heard it from relatives—from what they witnessed from the wall, Roman appeared like the savior of Lawrence. In an emergency situation where the wall might’ve collapsed at any given moment, Roman Dmitry attacked the enemy and slaughtered the soldiers of Barco. Moreover, he completely reversed the atmosphere by destroying the Flare. If Roman hadn’t appeared, Barco would have planted their flag in Lawrence by now!”
Rumors are always a mixture of truth and a bit of fiction, just like a heroic tale passed down from generation to generation.
Just like those two people were talking, many people in the North-East region praised Roman’s achievements.
“This war started with Roman Dmitry and ended with him as well. This is a story only those who were there know, but after Chris, the vanguard, won the first battle, the people of Lawrence were in complete despair. Do you know who showed up? Homer, the 49th Ranker in the Cairo Kingdom, came out as a Great Warrior for Barco. The moment he revealed his name, the people of Lawrence fell into despair. And in a fight that no one believed could be won, they thought Roman should step back and save his own life, at least. However.”
The man continued with a complicated expression. He spread his arms wide and spoke as if he was Roman himself.
“Roman Dmitry—No! The hero’s judgment was different from the ordinary people’s. He proudly declared that he would fight, and in front of many others, Roman Dmitry beheaded Homer with a single attack. His red blood spilled in the air… Haaah! It was such an amazing scene. Roman Dmitry, who had even led Lawrence to victory against the siege, ended the battle with that fight.”
“…But you weren’t there at the time.”
“No, I am just telling you what my relatives said. Anyway, to say the least, Roman Dmitry isn’t a fool, contrary to what others say. He subdued Blood Fang by himself, took down Barco’s warrior, and now helped Lawrence, as well. He is definitely a hero. A sleeping dragon, which the Dmitry family had initially kept as a secret, finally ascended to heaven and is now building up heroic stories earnestly.”
Everyone was excited. Roman’s actions were so great that they were impressive to everyone. The rumors had spread so widely that one could see the children running on the streets play the role of Roman Dmitry.
However, things didn’t end just there. Lawrence had emerged victorious in all 3 battles in the Battle of Great Warriors. Although Roman’s impact was immense, there was also the critical point that the other two fights were won by Roman’s soldiers, as well.
“Heroes are really born with good fortune on their side. Dmitry’s genius swordsman, Chris, defeated Janson, a 3-Star swordsman, and the child who hardly even looked like a soldier mutilated Barco’s knight. None of Lawrence’s men even took part in the battles. Roman’s soldiers were the ones who proclaimed the victory, and they proved their loyalty to Roman in front of everyone. Things will honestly get messy in the future. In the North-East region, a talented person who will shock the world is finally born after a long time.”
Flora’s predictions were correct. This war was won by the sacrifice of Lawrence, but all the glory went to Roman; however, no one complained.
The battle for victory that would shape their entire lives—The people of Lawrence didn’t truly know how fortunate they were to emerge victorious even if they got hurt in the war.
It was over for him now. No other words could describe his current situation. Viscount Barco, who returned to the family after suffering defeat in the Battle of Great Warriors, looked like someone who had drowned in a pool of despair.
Papers were piled up on his desk. Their content was already clear to him. The Golden Bank must be asking how he would repay the principal amount in the future after his defeat in this territorial war. Also, the Cairo Mercenary guild was angry about the death of Homer and wanted him to pay the penalty. The mercenary guild’s reasoning was truly absurd, though—They said that Barco had informed them that the opponent would be a 2-Star knight of Lawrence when they made their request for a warrior, so they shifted the loss of their man onto Barco now. In short, everyone utterly despised Barco. The fact that Barco would fall into the abyss with this defeat was known to everyone, and they all wanted something.
“These fucking beggars!”
It was bittersweet. It wasn’t just these two who ignored him. Once the war was over, none of the nobles, who were earlier friendly and greeted him with a warm smile every time they met, answered his calls. Moreover, some rumors even stated they had sided with Dmitry now. That was the cold reality in front of him.
Obviously, the current behavior of those who initially sided with Barco when he gained fame and became an influential leader in the North-East region seemed disgusting to him now. However, he understood that power is what brings others’ interest in someone. Viscount Barco was also someone who lived on the edge of the cliff like that, so he could only smile when he realized that he had been thrown off the cliff.
‘What the hell does this even mean?’
The burden of defeat was weighing down his shoulders. It was unsettling.
He was in a situation in which he could neither think of how to pay his debt off nor how he could recover from the defeat. It was because he was certain of his victory. If only Roman Dmitry hadn’t come into and shattered his equation, Barco would have been drinking champagne, enjoying his victory.
“Right, this is all because of that fucking bastard—Roman Dmitry. He showed up with no reason to intervene in the war and ruined everything! This is absurd! In the noble society, where having a cause is critical, Roman Dmitry did something he shouldn’t have.”
Roman—It all happened because of him. Viscount Barco thought—In order for the Barco family, who has been driven to the edge of destruction, to survive, I must hold onto Roman’s existence.
‘This is my last chance.’
He jumped up from his seat. Now, he had only one hope left. Clearly, there was a lot of work he needed to do.
Viscount Barco contacted all the nobles of the North-East. Some nobles accepted. Although they were reluctant to talk to him, they accepted it due to his earnest request. And a few days later, those nobles gathered in the Barco estate.
If it had been the past, everyone except the pro-Dmitry1 would have expressed their intention to attend, but today, only ten nobles were seated at the huge round table. It was a scene that unquestionably showed who the weak side was. Still, Viscount Barco stood tall and said, “Before we start, I want to say thank everyone for coming to Barco. You all are true nobles. Despite those who turned their backs on us instantly and ignored our relationship according to their interests, I think the North-East region’s future can still be considered bright because of nobles like you.”
“Let’s begin the meeting.”
The nobles attending the meeting didn’t like the compliments from Viscount Barco. They were all here because they knew their relationship with Dmitry wasn’t good; however, they knew how dangerous this move was.
Then, Viscount Barco said, “I will get straight to the point. A cause is critical in a fight between nobles. In particular, in a situation where one doesn’t know when a foreign invasion might happen, attacking the surrounding territory just because one is greedy violates the laws set for nobles. Barco attacked Lawrence with a good cause. It was to take back the debt they owed our ancestors, and the Central Government, which judged our cause to be valid, sent down a judge. However, Roman Dmitry intervened in the war without any cause. Due to his surprise attack, Barco lost their Flare, and furthermore, the fighters of Lawrence remained untouched in the Battle of Great Warriors.”
His voice eventually rose. It was a demand for others to show him sympathy.
“Does this make any sense? Why did Roman Dmitry come to help Lawrence? There would have been no problem if the two families had some kind of ties, but the Lawrence family declared that Flora Lawrence had broken the marriage with Roman Dmitry. However, Roman Dmitry still sided with Lawrence despite having no cause to help them. His behavior has crossed the line. Even though we had taken the help of those around us for the war, we fought with the troops of Barco till the very end to honor the values of nobles. Thus, this horrendous defeat is unjustifiable.”
“What you have said is truly correct.”
“That’s right. Roman Dmitry had no cause to intervene.”
Everyone agreed with him. The statements Viscount Barco had said weren’t incorrect—Intervention without cause deserved punishment. Thus, this was an issue that had to be discussed publicly.
‘I don’t think this will entirely destroy the Dmitry family. However, I can hold them accountable for their actions and demand a massive amount of compensation from them instead. That will be enough. Considering the Dmitry family’s wealth, I can definitely pay off the money I borrowed from the Golden Bank.’
The Golden Bank was the most urgent matter now. The issues with the mercenary guild could be resolved through arguments. However, the Golden Bank was famous for being strict when it came to recovering the principal they lent. What if—Barco said he cannot pay? Undoubtedly, the Golden Bank would crush the Barco family.
A noble asked, “So, what do you plan to do?”
Everyone’s opinion was similar. Just seeing the nobles who were interested and expressed their distaste at Roman Dmitry’s actions, Barco understood that his words had worked. Viscount Barco was aiming to create a voice that would sympathize with him and put pressure on Dmitry with the people who had gathered here.
Just then, the conference room’s door was slammed open by a soldier. When Viscount Barco looked at the pale-looking soldier, who was nervous, the soldier spoke, stuttering, “R-Roman Dmitry. He has come to meet the Viscount!”
This was an unexpected situation that did not make any sense to Viscount Barco.
Roman Dmitry—the reason for their defeat—Him setting foot here meant he had voluntarily stepped into a place in which everyone wanted him dead.
‘What is he thinking?’
The gathered nobles looked at each other. This was an unexpected situation where everyone was confused about what to do.
“It seems everyone is already gathered here.” Ignoring the soldiers, Roman walked into the room with a calm expression on his face and said that.
At that moment, Viscount Barco seriously thought—‘Should I just kill him?’
He was already at the edge of destruction. And naturally, all he wanted was revenge by killing the man responsible for it. However, if he did that, he would lose his justification for taking down the Dmitry family. This was unmistakably a situation in which he needed to endure his anger.
Viscount Barco, struggling to calm down his boiling anger, stared at Roman, who was sitting in front of him. No one had given him permission to sit, but he still took the seat as if it was his own.
Sitting across from Viscount Barco, Roman leaned back on the chair as he crossed his legs and said, “I heard you had a lot of complaints about me.”
After caressing his bright and beautiful lips, Roman smiled like a predator who had caught its prey. And then, looking into the eyes of Viscount Barco, he said, “Then, tell me directly—For what reason Barco created this situation.”2
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