Human emotions were strange. If Roman Dmitry simply said he needed time, no matter how great and talented he was, the powerful people in Cairo would continue to aim for him.
However, the Public Ranking was a different thing.
“…the Public Ranking match?”
“The Public Ranking represents an endless challenge that tests one’s limits. You duel until you lose, and the place where you finally kneel is your ranking. The problem is that this isn’t something to talk about lightly. The more one tests the limit, the more intense the fights become, and you might lose your life.”
The Public Ranking was a sensitive issue. As it was a battle between the strong, it wasn’t strange to die at any moment, and the duels were always severe. A one-time match meant that if Roman Dmitry, who was in the 100th rank, defeated the 99th ranker, he could immediately go for the next in rank.
It was a way of fighting until a set limit was reached, so the rankers who accepted the challenge didn’t always aim for this. It was only natural. Rather than drawing their swords and challenging rankers who were stronger than them, they just let themselves enjoy the position. Who would want to be a victim of the Public Ranking? Everyone wanted to avoid endless challenges. Nevertheless, Roman Dmitry’s declaration showed how confident he was.
‘Roman Dmitry defeated Butler of the Hector Kingdom. The fact that someone already qualifies to rise to the top of the Public Ranking with this result alone and would challenge himself to aim higher in the Public Ranking is amazing. Even if he is in a situation where he can enjoy wealth and fame, he would want to give everything up to take on the new challenge.’
Daniel Cairo admired Roman Dmitry even though there wasn’t much of an age difference between them. Although he hadn’t yet fully experienced the world, Roman Dmitry took a different step.
“As expected from the hero of Cairo.”
“You made a great decision. With this, the ranking in Cairo will change. You are now a man known as the one who defeated Butler of the Hector Kingdom. Who can stop you now? I am already looking forward to it.”
The nobles responded with interest. Roman turned down the offer to become a Royal Knight, but at the same time, he wanted to prove his worth. However, that wouldn’t stop them.
‘It will be a good opportunity to assess Roman Dmitry’s skills. I cannot just blindly believe the rumors that he defeated Butler. Roman is still in his mid-20s. We can find out his true level through the Public Ranking.’
It wasn’t bad. The Public Ranking match looked like a good place to evaluate him. He was not only able to delay his response, but he was also able to lure them with a topic he knew they would be interested in. In addition, the time it took to prepare and proceed with the Public Ranking matches would give them time to convince him.
It would be an open competition, and Roman took advantage of it. He raised his value and ignited the competitive spirit of those who coveted him.
“In the near future, I will present myself in front of everyone, and then I will decide on what to do next.”
At that, everyone accepted it immediately. Daniel Cairo, who offered him a position in the Royal Knights, and the other three nobles believed that the ambiguous answer was directed at them.
However, there was no truth to that. When the Public Ranking matches were done,
‘A new play will start.’
Roman Dmitry would not be someone’s sword, but he would be someone who would play the lead.
Marquis Benedict called Roman after the party. Marquis Benedict, who was already slightly drunk, poured him a glass of alcohol and asked.
“A person’s destiny is so interesting. I sent you to the Southern Front, wanting to take care of you, but the Hector Kingdom had declared war. Surprisingly, you stopped it and turned into a hero.”
The glass was already full. Roman drank it while looking at Marquis Benedict.
“Thanks for the great experience.”
“… great experience?”
“Yes. Through the war with the Hector Kingdom, I learned that the world I knew wasn’t everything, so I decided to do the Public Ranking matches to test how strong I am in the Cairo Kingdom. When I am finally convinced that there is no one above me, I want to be the best on the continent.”
“The best on the continent; a dream tailored for your age.”
He took another sip. Marquis Benedict also once dreamed of being the best. However, the continent was a place full of monsters beyond his imagination, and the day he faced reality, he decided that he would live a nice life in the Cairo Kingdom.
He stopped his childish dream of becoming the best when he attained a position and gained power in the Central Government. Although he didn’t live a decent life, he was still considered someone with great power in Cairo.
Marquis Benedict said,
“I have one daughter. I tried so hard to give birth to a son, but my wife died prematurely, so I couldn’t try for more. People told me to marry a new wife and have a son like other nobles. But strangely, I didn’t like the feeling of it.”
Marquis Benedict’s story was famous. Even though there were horrible rumors about him, he never said much about himself, despite being powerful. It didn’t matter what he was called outside. At least at home, he was a father who had eyes for his only daughter.
“I will give my daughter to you.”
He put down his glass. Anyone who knew Marquis Benedict realized that the meaning of those words wasn’t light.Discover, Devour, Delight: N♡vεlB¡n.
“I told Fabius that you are not naïve. Listening to your accomplishments and the way you spoke about going to fights in front of so many, I was reminded of the monsters of the continent I met when I was young. I am sure of it. I am not born with great abilities as others are, but at least I have the ability to recognize that the guy named Roman Dmitry will be comparable to them.”
“I had a broken engagement.”
“I know. I wouldn’t have proposed the marriage without knowing it. Neither do I intend to force you on my daughter. However, it means that I am willing to arrange the meeting so the two of you can meet, and if it works, move ahead.”
He was drinking too much. Hearing the news that Butler had been defeated, Roman’s status changed. Marquis Benedict knew that Roman Dmitry could not be brought in with normal rewards. There was only one solution then.
Blood ties—Marquis Benedict accepted the Dmitry family, even though nobles cared more about where they came from than how famous they were now.
“I will not ask you to meet my daughter right now. As I said before, you will need plenty of time to move ahead. As always, I, Marquis Benedict, will have your back. If you take my hand and say that you will side with me in the future, you will get everything you want in the Cairo Kingdom.”
Marriage to the Benedict family meant that he could inherit the powers of the house, and it proved how Marquis Benedict’s desire for Roman was strong.
With that, the drinking talks ended. Marquis Benedict’s proposal had one clear conclusion.
‘Roman Dmitry. Whoever possesses him will be devouring the Cairo Kingdom.’
His existence disrupted the balance of power. Perhaps the thoughts of other nobles weren’t much different. Roman was contacted by Count Gregory and Count Denver afterward.
The offers of the forces that divided the Cairo Kingdom were great. Daniel Cairo offered the position of Deputy Commander of the Royal Knights. Marquis Benedict proposed marriage. And the offers of Count Gregory and Denver were equally convincing.
“I do not mean to put pressure on you. At some point, the Kronos Empire will unify the continent. It’s either King Daniel or Marquis Benedict. After all, those living in Cairo cannot give you much power. I promise you power in the Kronos Empire. The moment you accept the offer, the Kronos Empire will change your life forever.”
“Valhalla’s proposal remains the same as before. In addition to giving you the title of a noble and an estate, I will give you a chance to enter the Warrior’s Tomb, and you should know what that means. The Warrior’s Tomb is the place where the warriors who have graced Valhalla are buried, and their weapons and lifelong knowledge are left there. If you want to be the best sword on the continent, the Valhalla Empire is the right path for you.”
Both offers were extravagant. People thought Daniel Cairo’s proposal was shocking, but when they looked at the whole picture, the other three nobles put everything on the line.
Roman was that strong. Even though Butler was at the bottom of the continent’s ranking, Roman was able to defeat him at a young age. Being in his mid-20s meant that he had a bright future. Since Roman Dmitry’s growth was definitive, they all made unusual and radical proposals.
If one wanted a comfortable life, whatever one chose, wealth and power would follow. This was exactly why Daniel Cairo’s proposal should be excluded, but the other three had perfect future plans too. Yet Roman didn’t bother thinking about it.
‘I am a person who cannot live under someone.’
In his past life, from the moment he fell to the bottom of life, he continued to go up one step after another and tramp on the beings above him. There were many people who approached him with tempting suggestions every time. They said they would give everything to him, but they weren’t worth it.
‘After all, their desires and attitudes will change if I go against them. The top position I want is one where I have authority over everything. Rather than being swayed by the decisions of others, my own existence is upright no matter what happens to those around me.’
It gave him a different kind of comfort. He was just using them now. The kindness they gave sought rewards, and it would be difficult to be deceived by their offers as he had already lived a difficult life.
His throat burned with desire. Just thinking about what would happen after the Public Ranking matches was already making Roman excited.
Roman’s accommodation in the capital was extravagant. The Royal Family and the nobles in the Central Government paid extra attention to it. Thus, Roman and his men were able to stay in a good place with their help.
And when he finally arrived, Hans greeted Roman.
He was the same as always. Hans followed closely with his short legs and gave Roman his robe.
“I heard you had a hard time on the Southern Front. Did you get hurt? You don’t know how much my heart shook when I heard the news. Still, I am glad you are safe.”
“It was nothing.”
“Is that so?”
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Hans smiled softly. This young man was seriously such a good person.
On the same day, Roman was able to get enough rest after a long time. Hans had already prepared warm water in the bathtub, fragrant candles, and food that he enjoyed in Dmitry in advance.
Rest was as important as training. As soon as he was finally able to relax, he was able to put those complicated thoughts out of his mind. Then, Roman focused on getting better from the wounds he got on the battlefield.
And a few days later, Roman heard something unexpected from Hans,
“Young Master, I might be stepping out of line, but could you please meet Young Master Lauren?”
He was suddenly reminded of his brother’s existence, whom he hadn’t met before.