The Star of Hector—people looked up to Edwin Hector. They had no doubt that he was the hero who had come down from the heavens and could save this fallen kingdom.
Was that why Edwin Hector himself believed in his victory?
Until he met Roman Dmitry.
The being who popped up from the darkness cutting down the soldiers of Hector at once, and disappearing back into the darkness. The soldiers screamed as they searched for Roman.
However, the moment they left their positions even a little, darkness would descend upon them, and the number of dead soldiers went up.
Looking at it, Edwin Hector could do nothing. His mind was looking down, and he couldn’t help but watch the others die.
And then he realized.
This was a nightmare.
He had to get up, but no matter how hard he tried, the slaughter wouldn’t stop.
‘The unexpected variable in the plan, as well as the existence of a being known as Roman Dmitry. If I could turn back time, could I have brought down the Southern Front against Roman Dmitry?’
No, it was not possible. Looking back, Roman Dmitry was a step ahead of him when they fought, even when compared to Butler.
He didn’t know how it was possible. What was certain was that Roman Dmitry didn’t look like he had limitations on him, and therefore a victory couldn’t be guaranteed.
People called themselves the best talents. Even Edwin Hector was confident and arrogant until everything was destroyed.
‘I plunged the kingdom into despair.’
…..if there was no war, could the Hector Kingdom struggle to survive a little more? As Edwin Hector’s mind fell into deep, dark thoughts, the slaughter continued. He couldn’t even guess how long this was taking. His mind felt lost, unable to bear the responsibility of what he had done.
And then, Edwin Hector saw the face of the soldier who was killed by Roman.
‘The Royal Family provided sufficient food as a reward to soldiers who applied for the war. That soldier volunteered for the war even though he couldn’t even use a sword properly in order to save his mother, and he died here.’
His heart ached. He didn’t think it was Roman’s fault. He, too, must have been doing this for his own justice, and since he was the loser here, he had to bear all this. As his thoughts drifted into the depths of despair, he remembered that there were people he had to take care of.
‘The Kingdom of Hector is facing the worst problem. However, Hector is not yet destroyed. There are people who only look at me, so I must somehow find a way for all of them to live.’
The evil darkness was gone. A bright light shone in his eyes.
“…how long has it been?”
Edwin Hector opened his eyes.
About a week passed.
In the meantime, many things happened in the Hector Kingdom. Those involved in the war had gone silent, but the news of its plunge into despair was going around.
“Knight Butler was attacked by the Devil of Cairo.”
“It was a complete defeat right from the start to the end. The Devil of Cairo alone slaughtered thousands of soldiers, and that wasn’t enough. He even cut down Butler and pierced the rear gates of the fort. It was a fight we couldn’t win in the first place. We thought the Star of Hector was the best talent in the world, but the wide world is infested with monsters even scarier.”
“The Hector Kingdom is over, we did everything we could for the war and got nothing back.”
Horrible rumors about Roman Dmitry spread. That name shook the continent. After such a shocking performance, people talked about the rebirth of a really great swordsman in the Cairo Kingdom.
The problem was that the scapegoat for their achievement was the Hector Kingdom. When Edwin Hector realized how bad things were for the kingdom, he called the leaders together.
“How is my body?”
“It is fine.”
“Foolish child. I never asked you to risk your life. I apologize for my inability to carry the burden of the Royal Family and passed it on to you, but I didn’t expect you to solve the problem at the cost of your life.”
“… I am sorry.”
Edwin Hector bowed his head. His father’s heart was warm, but Edwin Hector couldn’t afford to do this now.
“Father, did you hear the report from Jackson?”
“Three days ago, anomalies were discovered in the village of Hector. It was a village where the first poor crop had started, and there were reports that the ground had not just turned dry and crumbly but had turned black, and every living thing was dying. It seems to be the Necromancer’s Curse.”
The Necromancer’s Curse—it was quite a sensitive word. Edwin Hector felt his heart sink as he heard this report from Jackson.
“At first, I thought that it was a poor harvest that fell on Hector, a curse of God. But if this is the same as a Necromancer’s Curse, perhaps the harvest going bad was deliberately done to torment the Hector Kingdom. It wasn’t done by normal black magic. Someone must have worked for many years to inflict a curse that affects the entire land of Hector, and as soon as the war is done, the curse is out in the open.”
“… does this mean that they were forcing us to attack Cairo right from the start?”
He couldn’t be sure, but there were forces that deliberately pushed Hector Kingdom off the cliff. Edwin Hector, who had checked numerous reports as soon as he got up, had come to this conclusion.
“At that time, we were the puppets of someone. The Cairo Kingdom is no different. It is clear that the force behind this darkness is purposely taking advantage of the two kingdoms fighting. But right now, revenge isn’t something we can afford. We need time to solve the current problems we are facing and clearly understand what kind of power is behind what happened.”
“We don’t have time.”
He figured out the problem. Even if he knew the curse, it wasn’t easy to solve it. A curse spread all around Hector. At least a high priest had to step in. Hector’s power wasn’t that good, so in order to solve the problem, something had to be done to turn the situation around.
“When I was young, the Tower Master of Vast Heaven made a suggestion to me. If I give up the position of the prince and join the Magic Tower, I will be given something. I will spend my time in the Vast Heaven Tower.”
Everyone looked shocked at Edwin’s words.
It meant giving up the throne, and knowing that, everyone tried to stop him, but Edwin made up his mind.
“It just takes one year. That is the only way we can solve this problem.”
They knew that even when the solution was presented. The fact that the Hector Kingdom had no other alternative to survive. When the Cairo Kingdom was celebrating, the Hector Kingdom made the decision to let go of their hero.
The war had ended, so the people returned to their daily routines.
McBurney, who was an instructor at the Southern Training Center, stayed in a bar after arriving in the capital, unlike others.
He put the bottle down. He had stopped drinking for a while. At the Southern Training Center, he didn’t drink because he thought he had to keep the kids all on their toes, but not now.
The war led to victory. McBurney received a huge reward in the process. He was given money to live the rest of his life sparingly, but such material compensation didn’t make him happy.
“Send you back to the battlefield? McBurney. Calm down. Thanks to Roman Dmitry, you are being called a war hero, but you failed to protect the center and lost all your men. This proves that you don’t have much worth on the battlefield. Who will trust and follow you? So, spend the rest of your years comfortably with the money you received from the Royal Family. That will work best for you.”
They were the words of his senior captains. They told him of the brutal reality. It wasn’t like he didn’t know his limitations, but he couldn’t help but drink in such a situation.N♡vεlB¡n: Inspiring Minds, Illuminating Souls.
And he continued to drink.
No matter how much he drank, he didn’t get drunk, and his mind only got clearer.
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‘I should have died on the battlefield.’
Ten years of life on the battlefield.
He had many colleagues in the past, and he survived after watching all of them die, and at some point, he was called a veteran warrior. He became a capable person who rose to the position of captain despite being a commoner.
But he was unable to relax his thoughts. His mental strength was worn out by constant war, so he couldn’t accept a normal life.
When was it?
He wanted to die alongside his comrades on the battlefield. Although that was his wish, he was humbled by his superior’s order not to send him to the battlefield.
‘Right, what can a one-armed swordsman even do?’
He recently heard a rumor about Roman. He began to be called the hero of Cairo due to his achievements on the Southern Front and for showing overwhelming power in front of the Castro Family.
‘Such a great person.’
At first, he thought his diligence and determination to train his soldiers were great, but now he had risen to a position that he couldn’t dare touch.
He suddenly felt jealous of that man’s subordinates. Having a man like Roman as their master and being able to blindly trust him was the life McBurney wanted.
‘There are already many talented people under Roman Dmitry. He wouldn’t notice a one-armed man who has no skills. McBurney, this is your reality. You have lost your worth as a warrior, and you need to accept the reality in order to not repeat the same mistake in the Southern Training Center.’
His throat burned, making him want to drink again.
“It has been long.”
A man came and sat next to him.
The moment he looked at Roman Dmitry, McBurney doubted his eyes.
His heart raced.
Roman Dmitry, his idol.
Why was he here?
At that moment, when his mind had gone complicated, Roman went straight to the point.
“I need great people for my future plans. McBurney, I think of you as the kind of person who fits my plan. I will ask you directly. Will you follow me to Dmitry?”
At that moment…
It was his heart.
It was as if a rope had fallen from heaven. It was a situation he had been dreaming of, so there was no reason to refuse.
“… I am grateful for the offer, but as you can see, I am a one-armed swordsman. Ever since I lost the arm that held the sword, I’ve lost my value as a swordsman. What could a person like me even do for Roman Dmitry? I am worried that with me by your side, your reputation will be tainted, and I will be a burden to you.”
He didn’t want to refuse. In fact, he wanted to jump at it. But he couldn’t help but say no. When he got to the capital, for a short time, the people in his unit didn’t want to do anything with him because he only had one arm.
This was the reality. He was no hero. He was lucky enough to be alive.
“It doesn’t sound like a rejection to my ears, though. Am I wrong?”
McBurney said nothing.
In the new world, Roman’s criteria for accepting talent weren’t for the present but for the future.
And Roman said,
“Have you ever heard of the left-handed swordsman?”
In Baek Joong-hyuk’s memory, Roman remembered a warrior who showed an impressive performance.