The next plan.
At those words, Baron Romero’s expression hardened.
“… Son. Do you know the weight of your words?”
“Then let me tell you my honest opinion, it is an uncomfortable truth for all of us, but the nobles in the northeast do not want to accept the common-born Dmitry family as one of their own. If we move out aggressively to get more power, there will be war. What I am worried about is the chaos in the northeast. People cannot be sacrificed for the sake of frugal power.”
Baron Romero’s thoughts were firm.
The shell in the northeast.
The unsettling reality was that Dmitry was only recognized on the surface by everyone. There was no reason to wage war and give their opponents a reason to look down on them.
Since Dmitry had power but it didn’t mean there was much they could do.
And Roman said,
“If the situation in Cairo wasn’t unstable, I might not have a different opinion from father.”
The battle in the Southern Front and the four forces within Cairo. Through these experiences, Roman knew that he needed power.
“The Cairo Kingdom is like a bomb which can blow up any time. The Royal Family doesn’t have control over the nobles as it is weak, and Marquis Benedict has more power than the Royal Family. Count Gregory and Denver, who follow the other Empires, are stealing important information from the Cairo Kingdom. How long do you think the peace will last? The Kronos Empire crosses borders more frequently. For the Kronos Empire, Cairo is an important kingdom, and they might declare war in the not-too-far future. When that time comes, there is no future for the northeast nobles.”
“The other nobles are no different. If the nation is in war, the future of the entire kingdom is at stake.”
“Right. The problem is that the power of conscription rests with the Central Government and not the King.”
If a war broke out, everyone would be responsible for it. Just like everywhere else, the small nobles would be taken advantage of.
“In Cairo, the Central Government is quite powerful. If they take everything, we have no other choice but to give it to them in order to not put the nation in crisis. Even if there is a voice of protest, the people behind the Central Government will take us down to protect themselves. So it is necessary to make sacrifices. In the not-too-distant future, in order for the northeast to have ‘one voice,’ we have to control the nobles of the northeast region. No matter what crisis arises, we need to learn not to be shaken and stay firm as iron castles.”
The opponent was the Central Government. Roman planned to take over the northeast, and Viscount Conrad was the first step in that plan.
“Father. Having experienced a series of events with the Castro family, I have learned that the power of the Dmitry family is no less than that of those in the Central Government. What we lack is power. Yet we never move for the sake of the people in our own estate? Even though we have the troops and a cause to help them, why on earth are we letting them make sacrifices?”
At the crossroads of life, Roman pushed his father to make an extreme choice.
“Above all, I do not like the Conrad family touching my people. Just give the word. If you make the decision, Father, the blood will only be on my hands.”
At those words, Baron Romero’s eyes fluttered.
The conversation didn’t have a clear conclusion. They ended the conversation, and Baron Romero was left alone with his thoughts.
“… My son has grown a lot.”
His son’s words were right. The Dmitry family did nothing despite having power. He knew that there would be trouble in the not-too-distant future, but he didn’t want to be caught up in the war on his own.
Actually, he hadn’t even made a decision yet.
Knowing the obstacles Dmitry would confront at the time of his decision, Romero had to think very carefully.
Roman’s last words left a lasting impression on him. Not because he claimed he’d hold the sword, but because he didn’t want his own people to be touched.
“Is this the new era for Dmitry?”
The incident with the Castro family.
Dmitry’s people put their trust in Roman, and he repaid their faith with great leadership today.
Perhaps the people might be right.
Born as a commoner, he was unable to handle the power of Dmitry, but his son Roman was different.
‘He was raised differently than a typical commoner, unlike me. People claim that Roman is half noble, but the Roman of today may have been born as a result of the hardships he endured later in life. Roman understands people’s difficulties and tries to solve them. What Dmitry lacked was not strength or power but the determination of their Lord. Then it may be necessary for me to appoint a successor.’
He drank and drank. However, regardless of how much he drank, he never felt intoxicated, and as time passed, his mind became clearer.
Sometimes in life, you get a sense of the decisive moment. And the steady beat of his heart told him which path he needed to take.
‘There is no need for me to consider my successor at this time. However, I must make a choice for the benefit of Dmitry’s people..’
He put the drink down and,
“Is anyone there? Call for Captain Johnathan right now!”
Finally, he made the decision.
In contrast to the developments within Dmitry, the northeast region saw a normal, peaceful day.
A few days later, a party was held by the Dmitry family. The purpose of the celebration was Roman’s return, and of course, all the nobles from the northeast had gathered in Dmitry.
“From the Bolt family.”
“I am Sophia from the Grisel family.”
“On behalf of the Helos family, I want to congratulate Roman Dmitry.”
Many nobles began arriving early in the day. Although the northern nobles did not accept the Dmitry family as true nobles, they did not deny their power.
Dmitry was clearly the best in the northeast. However, the eldest son of such a family returned as the Hero of Cairo, and they couldn’t ignore it.
The huge party hall was filled with people. They appeared to be having a good time at the party, but when they had the opportunity to speak with Roman, they took advantage of it.
“Do you remember me?”
“Lady Sophia of the Grisel family. Of course, I remember. Didn’t we have a conversation at the party at Barco last time?”
“Ah. You remember?”
Sophia smiled despite Roman not saying much.
The halo around Roman Dmitry overwhelmed the people, and all the nobles around wanted to impress him, especially the women of noble families.
Each of them had special intentions and missions given by their fathers to seduce Roman in some way, so they all smiled at anything he said.
Like bees around a flower, people crowded around Roman. It was likely that people’s attention would change, but right now, Roman shone the brightest and accepted all of it.
‘Certainly not the former Roman Dmitry.’
‘It would be great if I could make him my man.’
‘How do I make him like me?’
Those were the thoughts of the people. Roman Dmitry, the Hero of Cairo, was the center of attention at the party, and many guests wanted to claim him as their own.
A man approached Roman as the night of the celebration progressed further.
“I am Viscount Conrad. It is truly an honor to meet the Hero of Cairo who defeated Hector.”
“I am Roman Dmitry.”
Viscount Conrad smiled kindly and asked for a shake. It was clear he was familiar with Roman. In their conversation, he was somehow trying to make Roman like him.
“I heard that you defeated the 5-star Swordsman, Butler, in the battle with Hector. Seriously, I cannot believe you achieved such a thing in your mid-20s. There was a time when I dreamed of being a swordsman. Of course, I couldn’t get a feel for mana as I wasn’t born with talent like Mr. Roman, so I gave up, but I know how great you are, better than anyone else.”
“It is exaggerated.”
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“Exaggerated? Who can ever deny the achievements of Roman Dmitry? There is a rumor about you challenging a ranker’s son, and as a fellow northeastern noble, I have high expectations. The northeast area hasn’t yet produced skilled rankers so far, but I think Roman Dmitry can aim for the top position.”
The atmosphere looked friendly. Viscount Conrad realized the chat had gone on longer than expected, so he shook off the curious looks and kept talking.
It was then that Roman spoke,
“I have one personal question for you.”
“I heard that the Dmitry farmers had their lands taken away by Viscount Conrad without a notice. Could you tell me why? There is still a contract period left, and without a sudden notice, you drove away the farmers, making them suffer.”
At that moment, the Viscount’s face went stiff. He didn’t want to answer it, so he decided to pass the question on in a gentle manner.
“Actually, there was a plan to use the surrounding area at a higher price. That is all. Let’s skip this meaningless….”
“Is that all?”
His words were cut off. Viscount Conrad, who was trying to change the subject, couldn’t hide his displeasure.
“Mr. Roman. We are having a party for you, so why do you keep talking about sensitive topics?”
It was a warning meant to not speak anymore, but Roman took a sip of champagne and continued.
“If we ignore the sensitive issues, I cannot solve the difficulties of Dmitry’s people. I am sorry. Still, if Viscount Conrad had given Dmitry a little thought, wouldn’t it have been easier to solve the problems with the farmers in a normal sense? Either by complying with the terms of the contract or by paying them compensation. At least if it were me, I would solve it as such.”
That was it. Viscount Conrad knew that his opponent was aiming for this. It was unpleasant. Roman Dmitry or not, he decided not to back off.
“I am quite disappointed with you today. I am here to celebrate your return in a good manner, and here you are, trying to lower my name by talking about such problems in front of others. It seems like the rumors that the public has heard about you are all lies. I truly respected you, but I do not think I can enjoy the party with a smile anymore after being treated like this by you.”
In the world of the nobles, a cause was everything. Viscount Conrad decided it was time to get angry. Roman Dmitry’s reputation was huge, but he didn’t like the man getting involved in such things.
He knew that even if this made the problem bigger, others would sympathize with him. Viscount Conrad was so sure of himself that he made a bold move.
“I will leave.”
And with everyone’s attention on him, he stepped back, making his way through the crowd.
It was then.
“Viscount Conrad. You have not answered me yet. If you end the conversation like this and leave the party, then I will accept your attitude as hostility towards Dmitry.”
That was a statement that shouldn’t have been made. Everyone looked shocked. Viscount Conrad also looked at Roman with a shocked face.
“Come back here and explain what happened that day.”
It was no mistake. It was intentional. The celebration, which had been joyful until a split second before, was now as chilly as ice water being dumped on it.