A fortnight ago.
Roman lit a fire in the hearth. By demonstrating his forging skills with the flame, he took the heat that came in from all directions.
‘Could I have survived if I had met Butler for the first time in a situation with no escape?’
He was lost in his thoughts. Unlike the repeated pounding of steel, Roman recalled the past events.
‘At that time, I couldn’t guarantee victory. I was able to defeat Butler in the battle of warriors because I had time to prepare, but if I had met him for the first time and wasn’t ready to go against a 5-star swordsman, maybe I would have made an arrogant choice based on my past life memories. In a war in which the Hector Kingdom fights with all their might, the appearance of an enemy I cannot handle is quite natural.’
Actually, variables like Butler were expected. So, leaving an escape route open, he faced enemies through the guerrilla operation.
‘I have fully accepted the fact that I am weak.’
He wasn’t arrogant. It was just due to the difference between his two lives. Although he was constantly trying to adapt to his current life as Roman Dmitry, the fact that he had the spirit of Baek Joong-hyuk didn’t change. So he constantly went for the enemies.
He faced danger when he fought with Butler. He saw this and realized he wasn’t in a good position as he thought he was. It wasn’t a bad experience. In return for risking his life, he made sure to defeat Butler.
‘In my previous life, I was confident that I could win against whoever the opponent was. But I am not the same now. Butler is not the best on the continent; in fact, he is not even the best in Hector. Against such a person, I risked my life and my future, and this will repeat again. The powers people hold in this world. My current level makes it impossible for me to consistently live and win battles against them.’
He pounded on the steel. It was funny. He had done many things in his life as Roman, but he wasn’t fully prepared to handle a fight.
And if he lost, it would be his own responsibility. All the men who believed and followed him would die, and their families would forever resent Roman.
It wasn’t like he was afraid of resentment, but he didn’t want to lose their faith. The people who held his hand until the end of the world, both strong and weak, he wanted to tell them that their choice was the right one.
‘The people who follow me. It was my greed that made me accept them. Excuses such as the opponent being stronger and unexpected things happening are meaningless. I need to be prepared even in such situations. Even if I face a better swordsman than Butler, I must be able to take off their head without losing my position.’
The top spot was lonely. He couldn’t expect someone else to do his role, and his weak heart would not suit being at the top.
So he endured because it was the life he wanted. Even if it added a burden on him, Roman wasn’t thinking of ever giving in to someone.
The fire continued to burn, and Roman constantly pounded.
Slowly, very slowly.
Roman’s consciousness plunged into the flames.
While the sun rose and set, Roman didn’t step out from the forge and repeated the constant pounding of steel in front of the fire.
His mouth felt dry. His face was red from the heat, his body was showing symptoms of burns, and he felt dizzy too. All this time, he hadn’t taken a sip of water or even a grain of rice, so his body was telling him that he had reached his limit.
Yet his eyes didn’t waver. As his mind became twisted with thoughts, Roman focused solely on his purpose.
‘I need a new sword that can accept me.’
He was in a state of trance, focused on the present. Pounding on the sword, he constantly struck it at equal intervals.
Shock rose, and crimson flames shot up in all directions. Hunger, fatigue, and heat were clouding his senses, but he continued taking deep breaths to keep from collapsing.
Infernal Divine Arts.
Gulping the flames, he absorbed the mana in them. Except for his heart, it would burn away all the impure things within his body.
A simple knocking of steel. Using the sword and flame as mediums, Roman tried to transform his body into an ideal one.
Marquis Valentino. He wondered how a sword like Blaze could be created, but even if he knew, he could never imitate it.
A sword that perfectly responds to mana and increases its efficiency. It was not created in a normal manner but was created using a breathing technique that Roman created.
When he hits the sword, the mana from Roman is pushed toward the steel. When Roman takes a break, the mana from the steel is taken back, and impurities are also pulled in. This repetition makes the steel turn into a mana-familiar medium.
People thought that swords were made of normal metals, but this exchange of mana was what made Roman’s swords so different from the others.
A method one could understand but could never imitate. Roman had forgotten about his skin burning and repeated the same action over and over.
Time passed rather quickly.
Although his body wasn’t in a normal state, Roman gained the strength to move his body with the energy he was absorbing from nature to his body.
Burning in madness.
Pushing himself to the limit and testing himself.
How many times did he repeat it?
He forgot the pain and the hunger. His arm also responded automatically by hitting the steel as he fell into a state of unconsciousness in which his body continued to move.
On a full moon night.
Roman’s skin melted. His skin was oozing, the burns had peeled off, and his new skin was pale as snow.
Second Body Reformation.
Roman, once again, began to change externally.
That day, Roman went to the forge. Despite being exposed to heat and a cold wind, Roman felt peaceful. Cold and heat did not bother him anymore. He had reached a new level.
Now for Roman, the cold and heat had no effect.
‘Second Body Reformation is done, and I have laid the foundation for entering a new stage.’
The accepted mana was seething inside his dantian. With mana that seemed to explode at any moment, Roman concentrated and slowly changed the surrounding environment.
He could feel the energy. Before long, the energy rushed to Roman.
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The explosiveness it held.
It was Butler.
At the same time, not just one but two 5-star auras appeared and attacked Roman.
Not long ago, it was an unacceptable hit. Like a candle flickering in the wind, Roman’s existence seemed to be in jeopardy, but Roman created an aura from his dantian to block the attack.
There were huge shocks. But Roman didn’t get pushed. If he didn’t stop it, his face would be slashed, but instead, he decided to step into the aura storm and practice swordsmanship.
‘Heavenly Demon Sword Technique, First Move.’
He went for Butler’s head. The first Butler raised the sword to block the attack, and the second decided to move in to attack Roman on the side.
The wind blew. As the sword barely glided past his side, the first Butler, who had blocked the front, exploded his aura to attack.
‘Heavenly Demon Sword Technique, First Move.’
Strike back at the enemy’s attack.
Dozens of clashes.
It was a speed that was hard to catch with the naked eye, and Roman and Butler pushed each other without taking a single step back. It wasn’t unusual for one of them to die.
The opponent would behead him if he even had the slightest difficulty breathing. He was standing at death’s door. Despite the fact that wounds were forming on his body and his heart was beating violently, Roman felt alive.
‘I didn’t choose this new life to be a loser. I, Roman Dmitry, will always be a predator.’
He overwhelmed the opponent.
‘Heavenly Demon Sword Technique, First Move.’
Mana swirled. It was the same technique as before but had explosively increased mana enough to overwhelm Butler.
Then the other Butler joined in, thinking that it would be difficult to fight alone, and both rushed for Roman.
They attacked at the same time.
If it were his past self, he wouldn’t have the strength to stop it. He would have returned to giving up life and even accepted defeat.
But it was different now. After spending a full month in a trance, Roman stepped into a new world.
‘Third Move of the Heavenly Demon Sword Technique.’
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The sword technique of the Heavenly Demon.
Roman manifested the power of his past life.
Heavenly Demon Sword Technique.
It was divided into three stages: first, second, and third.
The second stage had three different moves. No one could stop it if he was able to use the second half of it after three rounds of body reformation.
It was not arrogance. It was the conviction of Baek Joong-hyuk, who gained a lot by defeating opponents and being called the ‘Absolute Warrior.’
‘Using the second stage, I can defeat Butler.’
He was sure of it. He was confident he could win. But Roman wasn’t the kind of person to be satisfied with just that.
‘I do not want a normal victory. Using the Heavenly Demon Sword Technique the same way as in my previous life, I should be overwhelming the opponent. Butler isn’t even the best on the continent. And if against such a person, I cannot win with huge numbers, then the future ahead is tough.’
Mana was raging.
And time passed slowly.
Looking at the two Butlers coming in, Roman thought,
‘Is it the right choice to use the powers from my previous life? The swordsmen of this world use aura as an explosion. There may be parts of it that are vulnerable, but in one way or another, they exert more power than I do. Therefore, responding with the same power every time will be stupid. Depending on the situation and depending on the opponent, I need to accept the ways of this world.’
He changed his thoughts and thought differently. Instead of thinking that the new world’s techniques were trash, he could use the necessary things in martial arts.
‘Heavenly Demon Sword Technique, Second Stage, Third Move.’
The dantian trembled. Instead of delivering the required amount to the sword evenly, he let it explode like mana. It was a combination of what he was taught in the past and what he learned in the present.
A right form of compromise.
It erupted so strongly.
The aura exploded violently. The bright light that upended the world engulfed the existence of Butler.